El Quijote Sangria Recipe | saveur

El Quijote Red Sangria

On the ground floor of Manhattan’s iconic Hotel Chelseaneighborhood barflies — including many of New York City’s great creative minds — have long entrenched themselves in the kitchy El Quijotea bar. In addition to huge portions of lobster, paella and chorizo, pitchers of vibrant red sangria were by far the drink of choice from when the restaurant opened in 1930 until it closed in 2018.

This spring, the much-loved El Quijote, now under new management, reopened and bar manager Brian Evans felt it was important to honor the establishment’s storied history with a similar sangria recipe, albeit refreshed and updated for today’s palates. His recipe starts with a base of light and fruity garnacha wine, which he enhances with Spanish cognac and Bonanto, a bitter white wine-based aperitif, flavored with 30 Mediterranean plant extracts, sweet cherry and orange peel. A few drops of store-bought balsamic reduction and a drizzle of cinnamon syrup enhance the sweetness, body, and complexity of the iced cocktail. Evans pre-pours the drink by the liter, and just before serving he puts the mix in a pitcher with ice and fresh, sliced ​​citrus fruits, finishing with lemon juice and a foam of sparkling Cava. The result is at the same time thoroughly retro and wonderfully current.

Featured in “Pitcher-Perfect Sangria Recipes to Drink All Season

El Quijote Sangria

Upgrade your picnic punch with this recipe from Manhattan’s iconic Spanish restaurant.

Yield: serves 4


15 minutes

For the cinnamon syrup:

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 8 cinnamon sticks (slightly bruised)

For the sangria:

  • 7 oz. garnacha wine

  • 3 oz. Bonanto Aperitif

  • 2 oz. Lustau Brandy de Jerez Reserve

  • 2½ oz. pineapple juice

  • 1½ oz. cinnamon syrup

  • oz. balsamic reduction (store bought or homemade)

  • 5 thin slices of orange

  • 5 thin slices of lemon

  • 5 thin slices of lime

  • 1 thin slice of pineapple

  • 1½ oz. fresh lemon juice, side up

  • 6 oz. Cava, up


  1. Make the cinnamon syrup: In a small pot, combine the sugar with 1 cup of hot water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl and strain the syrup, discarding the cinnamon pieces; use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

  2. Make the sangria: Fill a large pitcher halfway with ice. Add the garnacha, Bonanto, brandy, pineapple juice, 1½ ounces of the cinnamon syrup, and the balsamic reduction. Add the sliced ​​orange, lemon, lime, and pineapple and stir to combine. Stir in the lemon juice and garnish with the cava. Pour into ice-filled wine glasses at the table before serving. (If you batch the drink ahead of time, omit the ice, fruit, lemon juice, and Caba until just before serving.)