When I lived in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, the city decided to rip up the street I lived on and put in new water pipes. This took a year and a half because they only worked when they felt like it. The workers and I greeted each other on occasion, so one day I invited them up for some Pa' Amb Oli, Queso Mahon and Jamon de Serrano (bread with olive oil, tomatoes, and garlic with Menoran cheese and cured ham). This meant the world to them! We started talking about Sangria and for the next two hours, during lunch, five construction workers hilariously debated who had the best Sangria recipe.
I am not saying this is the best, most authentic or blueprint Sangria, because Sangria is an opinion and a matter of taste. The following is what I dissected, during the lunch and have been making it this way, since that day.
Simple Sangria (It should always be simple)
You do not need expensive wine for Sangria, because you will kill a good bottle with all the ingredients. Find a bottle of Rioja or Crianza that you can afford. A $10 bottle is fine.
A splash of Champagne takes the place of Ginger Ale or any other bubbly soda, because it is not sweet, yet cascades flavor.
This gives the Sangria its smooth and silky texture with hint of orange.
This gives the Sangria its punch. If you like rum, taste Sangria de Fido in Puerto Rico.
Lemons, Limes and Oranges.
Just use citrus! Don't use the skin, because the Sangria will be bitter. Use pieces, so the pulp and juice can marinate. You can garnish the Sangria with the zest later on. If you want cloudy Sangria, use peaches.
Pour the bottle of wine into a large pickle jar, if you have one. The amount of other alcohol is up to your taste. Sangria is about balance of flavors and alcohol. Place fruit into jar and do not add sugar. Marinate the jar in the fridge for two or three days and stir three to four times a day.
Take the jar out of the fridge and let it sit for a couple of hours. Before you serve add three tablespoons of pure cane sugar and a tablespoon of honey. Sangria should not be too sweet. Ice should only be placed in your glass, not in the jar, so it does not get watered down. Mint leaves and citrus zest make for a good garnish, but I never had luck with cinnamon sticks. It is too strong!
Replenish the Sangria with more fruit and alcohol, if needed! Most likely, you will....