Trek Southwest - Hiking and Camping the Desert Southwest

Camping Sangria

in Campfire Drink Recipes

Although I’m usually a beer drinker – I really adore sangria. It’s light and fruity and can be made with bubbles if that’s what you’re into (I am!) The very best tasting sangrias are a combination of a base and bubbles which are added at serving time. The bubbles are usually in the form of ginger ale, club soda, or lemon lime soda.

The base works best when left alone to sit for at least 12 hours. So it’s really the ideal campfire drink. There’s a part of it that you can make ahead of time while you have access to your full kitchen and a part that is simply assembled at the campsite. And it’s a great choice for summer (aka primo camping time)!

Southwest Sangria

Since I live in the Southwest and I love recipes that use ingredients that are Southwest specific – I thought it’d be fun to make a sangria with agave nectar and tequila. And it’s more than fun – it’s delicious! It goes down very easy – maybe a little too easy.


  • 1/2 Cup tequila (silver label)
  • 1/3 Cup agave nectar
  • 1 bottle inexpensive red wine (750 ml) – merlot or cabernet sauvignon are good choices
  • 2 medium oranges
  • 2 medium limes (or 4 small limes)
  • ginger ale (optional – other choices are club soda or lemon lime soda)
  • fruit (optional – chopped up and added to drink when serving)

What Else You’ll Need

  • 1 half gallon container with leak proof lid (I use a mason jar for this)

Before You Leave Home

This recipe is a slice-and-dump recipe so it’s easy to pull together if you’ve got 15 spare minutes. Ideally you want your base to sit and “blend” for a minimum of 4 hours (8 is okay and 12 is even better.) One note of caution – make sure your container is leak proof. There is nothing worse than getting to camp to find your expertly packed cooler full of red wine and fruit. Ick.

Step 1

Slice your oranges and limes into thin rounds.



Limes from a friend’s backyard (why they’re not very green)

Step 2

Then using your half gallon container – combine the tequila, agave nectar, orange and lime slices, and red wine together. I put the lid on and give it a good shake to get it all nice and mixed up (it shakes some bits of orange and lime pulp out that way.) Leave it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to load it into your cooler.

Oranges in Jar


At the Campsite

When you’re ready to serve your sangria – you have two choices.

Choice 1 – Straight Up

Pour the base into a glass.

Straight Up

Choice 2 – With Bubbles

Fill your cup about 2/3 full with the base mixture and fill the remaining 1/3 with ginger ale.

The ginger ale adds a little sweetness and some carbonation to your drink.

With Bubbles

You can sort of see the bubbles around the top edge of the drink.


Some folks like to serve this drink with fruit (since fruit helps to bring the flavor out.) My recommendation here is that you make this functional since you’re camping and not at a fancy dinner party. If you choose to enjoy your sangria with fruit – replace the citrus with something like strawberries or apples (something without an inedible rind.)

The fruit can be a tasty addition, but it’s great with or without. In fact, I’d venture to say that the fruit is more for looks – I sort of hate drinking around it.

Now you’re ready to enjoy! I think the tequila and agave nectar really blend well with the wine and fruit. Makes it sweet without being overpowering. The tequila packs quite a kick so do be aware that it’s lurking in there. What I’m trying to say is that it’s easy to drink a bit too much and have a not-so-nice hangover the next morning (especially when you’re at higher elevations or are dehydrated from hiking.)


This recipe is full of opportunities for substitution. Use white wine instead of red. I just used red because I happened to have a bottle that was a gift from a friend. I’d also say that cheap wine works the best for this. I think wine purists might cringe if you took a beautiful bottle of expensive wine and put tequila, fruit, and soda in it.

Use club soda or lemon lime soda instead of the ginger ale. The ginger ale and lemon lime soda will add some additional flavors that the club soda will not. You can also play around with the fruit mixture – I adore citrus so I usually use that. But I’ve seen all kinds of different fruits in place of citrus – watermelon, strawberries, apples, etc.

And lastly – you can use brown sugar, white sugar, coconut sugar or whatever you prefer for the agave nectar. The flavors will change slightly, but it’s a fun way to try something new and use what you’ve already got on hand.

Nothing says summer like camping and a yummy summer beverage!

RobinGuest Post by Robin Laulainen. Robin writes about camping and other outdoorsy stuff at Trek Southwest, pets every dog she meets, and drinks more coffee than she should. She blogs about her other passion - creating - at Make It Yourself Girl.


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