Overnight Sangria Adds The Perfect Touch To Valentine's Day

No Valentine's Day should be considered complete without a glass of delectable sangria. Since the Spanish began to fortify aged wine with aromatics such as citrus and cinnamon in medieval times, this cocktail has remained a go-to for both singles and couples trying to enjoy the romantic holidays. But when you're trying to set up the perfect dinner date for your significant other or trying to pull off a Valentine's Day-themed rager with friends, trying to host and make delectable cocktails at the same time can be difficult at best. Luckily, sangrias are not that kind of drink, as they really shine best when you make them in advance.

Whether you choose to follow the most basic recipe or spice things up with chef Alton Brown's secret ingredient for irresistible sangria, making a batch of sangria a day before your guests arrive will not only free you from having to bartend for a crowd (or your significant other) — but amplify the flavors of this cocktail by giving the fruits and spices plenty of time to seep into the wine itself. Just pop a pitcher of sangria in the fridge before bed and rest assured that your loved ones will be wowed by your concoction.

Change up your Valentine's Day sangria with different wines

The classic sangria only calls for brandy, fresh fruit, red wine, and a sweetener. While that combination alone makes for a perfectly tasty drink, many bartenders don't settle for the generic recipe and choose to give their own twist on sangria. Some establishments brighten up this cocktail by merely adding a healthy glug of sparkling rosé or soft drink during serving, but you can go a step further by getting creative with the wine and aromatics you're using.

Swapping out red for white wine remains one of the easiest ways to not only change the appearance of sangria but its flavor as well. White wines are typically described as crisp, usually with hints of light fruits such as citruses — a much different flavor profile in comparison to the earthy tones of (most) red wines. If you're trying to make a bright raspberry thyme sangria, for example, a white or rosé wine will pair much better with the rest of those flavors.

Some people are also fond of making sangria with sparkling wines, but you really should try to avoid these if you're going to let your wine sit in the fridge overnight. If you're set on your sangria having some fizz but don't want it to go flat as it sets, just pour in the sparkling water into the pitcher right before serving.

Experiment with your sangria's fruit and aromatics

Regardless of whether you're using red or white wine in your sangria, a variety of fruit is the key to adding depth and complexity to this beverage. While a lot of people settle for just the classic apple and orange slices, try adding plums, honeydew, and cherries — all great additions that can really set your sangria apart from the rest. Feel free to reach into whatever catches your eye at home or at the grocery store, but stay away from overly soft fruits such as bananas. They can easily mush up inside your pitcher and ruin the texture of your sangria.

Another way to boost your sangria's flavors lies with adding fresh herbs and spices to your pitcher mix. Mint, for example, pairs excellently with the citrus slices that are likely in your sangria pitcher, and people commonly use cinnamon sticks and star anise pods to infuse some woody undertones. Some people even incorporate chili pepper to make a spicy sangria mix — perhaps the best way to add some heat to Valentine's Day.