Spain’s quintessential summer drink. This wine based fruit punch is an icon of the Spanish ‘fiesta‘. There’s no standard recipe for sangria. As with many things Spanish, ingredients and preparation varies around the country. Typically though it will consist of wine, chopped fruit such as oranges, lemons, peaches and berries, some sugar or other sweetener, some lemonade and often some brandy. With no standard recipe though, it’s great opportunity to get creative and adventurous at home with your preparation. Indeed, it’s because there are so many different ways to prepare sangria that it’s alcoholic content can vary quite a bit, anything from 4% up to about 11%. Try adding different fruit, maybe use white wine to try sangria blanca or try adjusting the sweetness as well as the liquor you add.
Sangria’s history goes as far back as Roman times when the first sangrias were likely watered down mixes of wine, herbs and spices with a little extra fortification from some brandy to kill off any bacteria and disguise the taste of any below average table wine! Mixing wine with other things is very popular in Spain. Tinto de Verano, a cousin to sangria is another popular drink in bars and restaurants, as is red wine just mixed with lemon fanta or other cloudy sparkling lemon drink.
Sangria is the perfect party drink, especially in the summer. Nice and refreshing, it’s also a great way to get your guests tipsy really cheaply. If you can prepare it ahead of time then it’s ideal as you can allow time for the fruit flavours to blend with the rest of the ingredients. However it’s not essential. Simply prepare all your fruit and add to your jug along with all your other ingredients except your lemonade and ice and leave in the refrigerator over-night or for several hours. Then remove and strain to refresh the fruit, add ice and any last minute ingredients and pour! It’s also an idea to serve it along with a wooden spoon or other strainer in the jug to help prevent all your fruit and ice ending up in everyone’s glasses.