The dog days of summer are here, and it seems like it’s getting a little hotter every day. This is the time of year that I look for something cool and refreshing when I’m entertaining - indoors or out. Sangria is a wonderful drink that you can prepare in minutes and serve to several friends.
Where did it come from?
Sangria is commonly referred to as a Spanish drink but it’s exact origin is unknown but early versions of the wine-based drink were popular in Spain, Greece and England. There is even a little dispute as to the origin of the name which many believe to have been derived from the Spanish word for blood, sangre. Others think it could have been derived from Sanskrit word sakkari meaning “sugared wine”.
So many recipes
Sangria is like many other popular dishes in that everyone that makes it does it slightly differently. There is the traditional Sangria made with red wine and fruit. A variation on the theme is white sangria generally made with dry white wines. Some sangrias also contain brandy, orange juice, sparking water or flavored liqueurs. The nice thing about sangria is that you have the flexibility to make it how you like it with whatever you have available.
The wine for a sangria doesn’t have to be expensive. A Spanish Roja is a good wine to start with for red sangria. White sangria base could be a Spanish Jumilla, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. I bet if you look in your liquor cabinet, probably in the back, you will find some wine that would work in a sangria.
What’s in season?
My choice of sangria depends on what fruit is in season. Seasonal fruit is typically at its most flavorful and typically cheapest prices. Peaches are a great addition to a white sangria to allow their sweet flavor to shine through. Other popular fruits in sangria can be pineapple, nectarines, berries, apples, pears, lemon, lime and melon.
Serve and Enjoy
Sangria is typically served chilled or on the rocks. It’s a delicious and refreshing drink to serve to guests. I suggest making it ahead and letting the flavors come meld giving you time to prepare for your guests.
The last time I had Sangria, it was at a Tapas bar in San Francisco. That gives me an idea for a Tapas party. Just remember that sangria can be a bit strong especially if fortified with brandy or liqueur, so drink responsibly. Both recipes today come from the Minimalist Baker. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.
Easy Traditional Red Sangria
Prep time: 5 minutes
- ½ medium apple, cored and chopped into small pieces with skin on
- ½ medium orange, rind on, sliced into small pieces with large seeds removed
- 3 to 4 TSP brown or cane sugar (original recipe called for organic)
- ¾ cup orange juice (plus more to taste)
- 1/3 cup brandy (plus more to taste)
- One 750ml bottle dry Spanish red wine like a Roja
- 1 cup of ice to chill
Add apples, oranges, and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon.
Add orange juice and brandy and muddle again.
Add red wine and stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust flavor as needed.
Add ice and stir once more to chill. Serve as is, or with a bit more ice. Garnish with orange slices.
Store leftovers for up to 48 hours.
Easy Traditional White Sangria
Prep time 15 minutes
- 1 medium lime sliced into rounds
- 1 medium lemon sliced into rounds
- ¼ cup cane sugar or sweetener of your choice
- ¼ cup apple or regular brandy
- ½ medium green apple, cored with skin on and cut into pieces
- 1 medium ripe peach or nectarine thinly sliced
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- One 750ml bottle dry, crisp white wine, chilled (Spanish white, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
- Ice or frozen berries
- Sparkling water (optional)
- Fresh mint (optional) for garnish
Add lime, lemon, and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with muddler or wooden spoon.
Add brandy and muddle again. Add apple, nectarine, and strawberries and stir to incorporate.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Stir to combine.
Add ice or frozen berries and stir once to chill. Serve as is or with additional ice and mint garnish (optional). If too strong, dilute with some sparkling water.
You can download the recipes of the week HERE!