What is Sangria?
For years now a staple to my summertime diet has been to have a glass or two of sangria while sitting out on my patio on those warm summer evenings with friends. Sangria is a wine based punch that originates from Portugal and Spain. The word “sangria” is derived from the Spanish word “sangre” which means blood. Sangria is usually made from red wine, sliced citrus fruit, sugar, and a sprit such as brandy or triple sec.
A lot of tourists flock to Spain and Portugal to get a taste of authentic sangria. What many people don’t realise is that in this part of the world sangria is predominately served out of a punch bowl at informal gathers with the express purpose of being inexpensive and easy to become intoxicated from. Bars and restaurants have realised the profit potential in serving sangria to tourists. Which is where the one litre pitchers of sangria have come from. The recipes for what makes good sangria are almost limitless. Some people rather use white or sparkling wine instead of red, making what is known as a sangria blanca, a sangria that is much lighter in body. The type of spirit added can also vary. Some people prefer to use a triple sec while others use brandy, Grand Marnier, or even whiskey to fortify their drink. Don’t make the mistake in thinking that you have to use an expensive wine or champagne. You are adding so many other flavours to the wine that using an expensive wine is not only necessary but rather foolish. Also important is to keep in mind that at most a bottle or two is all that you need for a sangria base.
The fruits used can also vary from recipe to recipe. Most common fruits used are oranges, lemons and apples. But pineapple, mango, peaches, cherries and even melon can be used to create truly unique flavoured sangria. Whatever fruits you decide to use, always remember to soak them. What does it mean to soak? Before adding ice and the carbonated liquids it is important to mix the all the other ingredients together. Then let sit 8 hours or overnight in a refrigerator. Doing this allows the wine and fruit flavours to meld together and enhances the overall flavour of the finished sangria.
Sangria at home
If you are looking to make your own sangria at home, looking for a recipe to fit what you want on the internet can be quite daunting. It is quite possible you will not find that you are looking for. There is no “right” sangria, which is what makes this beverage so perfect for everyone. You can put what you like in it and adjust flavours to suit your favourite flavours. For example if you are someone who loves tropical flavours a white wine based sangria with a banana schnapps and melon or pineapple might be the perfect sangria for you. Or if you prefer the idea of a traditional sangria a little red wine, cognac and some citrus fruit are all you need.
With a few months until the arrival of summer now is the perfect time to begin experimenting with flavours. Also creating your own signature sangria. Watch as your guests are amazed at the intricate and beautiful flavours you have created for their enjoyment on a warm summer evening. And remember, whether you create your own unique flavour, modify an existing recipe or prefer the traditional sangria recipes. Sangria is supposed to be a fun and social drink so relax and have fun.