Where's My Sangria At?
Updated: Jun 22
Sangria knows no season, but let’s be honest, now that it’s getting a bit warmer, we are all craving a cold, refreshing and fruity glass of that good stuff! As our group discussed our favorite combinations (over a zoom call of course), we didn’t realize the deep-rooted history that this tasty sipper had. So before getting into the recipe’s, lets lay down a few fun facts.
1.) After doing a bit of research we found out that sangria most likely date back to the middle ages! Back in the day, water was very unhealthy to drink (yikes! We’ve all seen the movies) and drinking fermented beverages were just, let’s say, the healthier alternative. Since these fermented concoctions most likely weren’t as flavorful and elegant on the palate, people jazzed them up with different spices, like cinnamon!
2.) At the World’s Fair in 1964, Sangria was first served to Americans in the Spanish World Area. Apparently the 1964 World Fair that was held in NY was not really supposed to be held there, or in the US at all. According to the Rules, “a country could host only one exposition in a ten-year period (Seattle hosted the 1962 World’s Fair)”. Oops! But in doing so, they accidentally opened attendee’s eyes to a whole new slew of multiculturally driven cuisine! Ahh NY, we love ya! Some of the major vendors from other countries backed out in protest and some of the local vendors were too expensive so people flocked to these more exotic pavilions. And here they found the Spanish World Area and its delightfully surprising Sangria.
3.) The word Sangria means bloodletting in Spanish. Kind of a bummer as every time I hear the word I think of sunshine and rainbows in a glass! And since this fact wasn’t as fun, lets get to the good part…recipes!
As we mentioned before, you can do a little bit of anything to suit your palate but we here at ABG like OPTIONS! So, we are going to give you a few to try. Oh, and did we mention these recipes are for a crowd?
The traditional Spanish version was served with a red and of course coming from Spain. Check out Tempranillos (a bit earthy with dark fruit flavors) or Riojas (a bit more tannic with a Pinot Noir-like body and presents a dominant cherry flavor). But who are we to say! If you’re feeling crafty, just remember not all wines will present well in Sangria. It’s best to avoid older reds or more complex wines…plus these might be a bit more expensive and would do best as a pairing wine.
Traditional Spanish Sangria
· 1.5 750mL bottles of young red wine
· 2 oranges
· 1 lemon
· 1 cinnamon stick
· 3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
· 1 green apple (optional)
· 2 peaches or apricots (optional)
1. If using the sugar (which will make a sweeter sangria than if you omit), dissolve the sugar in two tablespoons of water over a low flame to create a clear simple syrup. Let cool.
2. Wash the oranges and slice in half to juice the contents.
3. Wash the lemon and slice in half to juice the contents.
4. In a large pitcher, stir together the wine, simple syrup, orange juice and lemon juice and add in the chunks of lemon and orange rind. If making a truly traditional Spanish sangria, simply add the cinnamon stick and let sit at least two hours (preferably overnight) before serving over ice. This allows the sangria to take on the aromas of the fruit rind and cinnamon stick.
5. If you want to make a slightly more modern version (still not anything too crazy!) add in chopped up chunks of green apple and peach.
Here’s where it might get tricky. White wines tend to show their “fruiter” side more, but fruit in Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling would all be quite different. That being said, you are going to want to pick a wine that would compliment the fruit you are going to showcase in your mixture. And another pro-tip; just as we mentioned for red wines, avoid older and more complex whites like an oaked Chardonnay.
White Peach Sangria
· 1 - 750mL Bottle of White Wine
· 3 ounces Brandy
· 2 ounces Cointreau
· 1 cup Orange Juice
· 1 cup Pineapple Juice
· 2 ounces Lemon Juice
· 2 ounces Simple Syrup
· 3 ounces Peach Puree
Pour all ingredients in a pitcher filled with ice. Stir to combine. Add fresh slices of peaches and oranges for garnish.
The best part about making a sangria with rosé is that they are widely available and so versatile. These wines compliment very well with red berries and can present both dry and sweet. Be careful, though, there are a slight few that may be a bit sweeter than you would like and wouldn’t pair well with other additives (i.e. sweet liqueur). But for this tasty treat, try a Frosé on for size!
1 – 750mL Bottle of Rosé Wine
2 ounces gin
8 ounces Simple Syrup
2 oz Lemon Juice
2 Cups of Ice
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Garnish with a strawberry!
Note: We know the amount of simple syrup seems like a lot. The reason that is needed is to balance out the flavors of the “cocktail” because bitterness and sweetness are suppressed in a blended drink (or colder temperatures).