I’m horribly picky with my sangria. There is a very thick crudely drawn line between wine-spiked punch, and a sangria- you don’t want to end up on the left. Also- give your sangria enough time to set up, as the party is a little bit sexier when everyone has a bit of history.

Simple Sangria

2 bottles of Rioja
1/3 cup brandy (need we say good quality?)
1 green apple cubed
1 large orange sliced into 1-cm rounds, ends squeezed and discarded
1 large lemon sliced 1-cm rounds, ends squeezed and discarded
1/2 cup simple syrup, cooled
2 pints blackberries, washed and patted dry.

In a large non-reactive container, place the blackberries and citrus fruit. Add the simple syrup and the juice squeezed from the ends of the lemon and oranges (wasting fresh citrus juice is retarded). Cover and place in the fridge for a couple of hours. Cube the apple immediately before adding to the wine.

Helpful direction for serving:
About 4 hours before serving, empty half of the fruit into a large pitcher. Follow with two bottles of the Rioja, pouring slowly and tilting the pitcher if necessary, so that the wine hitting the fruit doesn’t create some sort of frothy sangria jacuzzi. Top with the rest of the fruit- I’d probably use some sort of tongs as opposed to just dumping the rest in- the fruit should fit in nicely, so that the wine can actually make its way out.
Top with the brandy and give a vigorous stir.
Chill properly to avoid the abomination of ice in wine.

This sangria is served cold, only slightly warmer than your ex-girlfriend’s heart.