What can I use instead of brandy in sangria? The best substitutes for brandy in sangria are fruity, floral spirits to complement the wine and fruit, such as vermouth, rum, orange liqueur, sherry, apple brandy, kirsch, Suze, and vodka. Apple cider and brandy extract are non-alcoholic alternatives.
Sangria is an alcohol-based Spanish punch containing wine, brandy, soda, and fresh fruit. This popular party drink traditionally uses red wine, but variations use white wine and added fruit juice, spices, and sugar. We suggest these ten best substitutes for brandy in sangria.
The Best Brandy Substitutes For Sangria
The best substitute for brandy in sangria is sweet, red vermouth.
Vermouth is a fortified wine with added botanicals and spices. While French vermouth is dry with a clear, whitish color, Spanish or Catalan vermouth (vermut) is sweet and spicy, with a reddish-brown color.
All vermouth starts out white, and the color comes not from grape skins but from the caramel and spices added. Spanish vermouth usually contains cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Replace brandy with equal amounts of sweet vermouth, especially when making a traditional red wine sangria with oranges, lemons, and club soda.
Another excellent alternative to brandy in sangria is rum.
Rum is a sweet spirit made from sugarcane juice or molasses. Traditional rum is rich, smooth, and smoky, with hints of vanilla and caramel.
To replace brandy when making red wine sangria, use fruit-flavored rum and add similar fruit and juice to the mix. Fresh fruit will absorb the rum’s flavor, making a delicious addition.
Popular rum flavors include tropical-style banana, mango, pineapple, and coconut. Citrus-flavored rum, such as orange or lime, would also work well in sangria.
Use the same amount of rum as you would brandy, with the proviso that rum is sweeter and higher in alcohol.
For a citrus-forward flavor, replace the brandy in sangria with orange liqueur.
Orange liqueur has a brandy base, infused with orange peel and essence to add a delicious citrus flavor and fragrance.
There are several brands of orange liqueur: the most expensive is the sophisticated Grand Marnier, which has French Cognac as a base. Cointreau is the next in price and quality, while Triple Sec, the least expensive, is ideal for making sangria.
Triple Sec is a great mixer, adding a bright citrus flavor to a red wine sangria. Often used in conjunction with brandy in sangria, Triple Sec pairs well with oranges, lemons, apples, and pineapples.
Replace brandy with Triple Sec in similar quantities or add a dash more if it’s the only spirit added to the wine.
Sherry makes a delicious replacement for brandy in sangria.
Made from wine fortified or strengthened with brandy, sherry has Spanish origins. The brandy functioned as a preservative while also increasing the wine’s alcohol content to around 20%. Sherry’s flavor depends on the brand and source, ranging from crisp and dry to velvety, creamy, and smooth.
Use a dry, fruity sherry for white wine sangria or a dark, sweet sherry for red wine sangria.
Replace brandy with sherry 1:1.
Use peach-flavored schnapps as an alternative to brandy in sangria.
Peach schnapps is a brandy liqueur also referred to as crème de pêche. This fruity drink is best made from fermented peaches, but some brands use neutral alcohol with peach flavoring.
Try good quality peach schnapps instead of brandy to add sweetness and depth to red wine sangria. Add peaches, pears, and sparkling fruit juice to make a Bellini-style white wine sangria.
Use the same amount of peach schnapps in sangria as a substitute for brandy.
Use apple brandy to replace regular brandy in sangria.
Distilled from apple cider rather than wine, apple brandy is a floral, fruity beverage.
Calvados, made in France for over 500 years, is one of the most famous types of apple brandy. This brandy is aged in oak barrels and develops a complex flavor profile with spice and vanilla undertones.
Americans may be familiar with applejack, also an apple brandy, but made from a different apple variety, resulting in a sweeter caramel flavor.
Try Calvados as a brandy substitute in white wine sangria, using apples and peaches rather than citrus fruits.
Applejack works well in red wine sangria, especially with added spices which create a delicious fall effect.
Apple brandy can replace regular brandy in equal quantities.
Kirsch or kirschwasser is a tasty substitute for brandy in sangria.
Kirsch is a German brandy made from sour Morello cherries, so it tastes refreshingly tart.
The crisp, fruity flavor makes kirsch a fantastic replacement for brandy in sangria. Combine it with cherry, apple, and orange juice, and add fresh cherries and apples to the punch.
Kirsch goes well with spices like cloves and cinnamon, so substitute brandy with equal amounts of this cherry beverage in red wine sangria.
Another replacement for brandy in sangria is whiskey.
Whiskey is a grain-based spirit made from wheat, rye, corn, or barley and aged in barrels. It tastes strongly of alcohol and can range from smooth and smokey to harsh and medicinal.
With a similar alcohol content, whiskey can substitute for brandy in sangria, but take care to use decent quality whiskey, or else the flavor will be noticeable.
Replace brandy with the same quantity of whiskey.
Suze makes an unusual but delectable alternative to brandy in sangria.
Particularly popular in France, Suze is a brand of bitters or herbal liqueur made since 1885.
The beverage’s flavor comes from the root of the gentian plant, which grows only in the Swiss and French alps. This ingredient gives Suze a characteristically tart and herbaceous flavor.
Suze works as a brandy substitute in white wine sangria, adding a floral quality and combining well with oranges and lemons.
Substitute Suze for brandy in equal proportions if you want to add a fresh, botanical element to your sangria.
Vodka is a possible substitute for brandy in sangria.
Traditionally made from potatoes, vodka is often distilled from grain, fruit, or honey. Vodka has the same clear, clean appearance as water but has an alcohol content of 40%.
Vodka is famed for having no taste or odor, making it a popular neutral mixer in cocktails.
Use vodka instead of brandy in white or rosé wine sangria. However, because it adds only an alcohol punch instead of flavor, mixologists often combine it with a flavored spirit, like Triple Sec.
Replace brandy with vodka 1:1.
Choose apple cider as a non-alcoholic substitute for brandy in sangria.
Apple cider is cloudy, pressed apple juice, unfiltered, and unsweetened. The alcoholic cider enjoyed in the UK is called hard cider in the US and is not recommended here.
Mulled cider makes a popular fall beverage, consisting of heated and spiced apple cider, so you can add these spices to your sangria.
If you feel that your sangria has enough alcohol in it or make an alcohol-free cider, use apple cider to add another flavor element.
Replace brandy with equal amounts of apple cider, or splash in more for a more robust apple flavor.
Another non-alcoholic substitute for brandy is brandy extract.
Created as a flavoring agent, brandy extract is the equivalent of vanilla essence, offering the taste of brandy without alcohol.
Brandy extract is a good choice if you want to add to the sangria’s flavor without adding alcohol.
A few drops of brandy extract will provide the flavor you need, so combine it with apple juice to make up the necessary liquid.