While a beer or glass of chilled white wine are great thirst quenchers when the heat of summer hits, no spirit can compare to a glass of freshly made sangria. The prized drink, whose name is derived from its deep red color, is a favorite in the Iberian Peninsula, particularly Spain, and is a suitable accompaniment for any food or alone as a refreshing beverage.
Here is a breakdown of the ingredients you will need to prepare this ultimate crowdpleaser, as well as a useful recipe straight from Madrid that will have your guests cheering, “¡Más!”
- Wine and other potent potables. The beauty of sangria is that you do not need, nor should you use, an expensive wine to prepare it. A basic red table wine will be fine. In addition to this main ingredient, you should also have on hand rum, brandy, and vermouth. Carbonated water will add spritz and crispness to your sangria.
- Fruit. The typical, most popular fruits added to sangria include lemon, lime, apples, and oranges. However, if you are a fan of grapefruit, pineapples, strawberries, peaches, or melons, feel free to include them and create your own unique blend. Make sure to let the fruit marinate, preferably overnight, so that the alcohol has time to infuse. The soaked fruit will taste delicious, but be wary of its substantial alcohol content, which can result in a quicker feeling of intoxication.
- Sweetener. Some people prefer a sweeter sangria, something that might be fitting for dessert, while others prefer to enjoy the sheer sweetness that comes from the fruit. Sugar is the most basic way to sweeten the drink, but for diabetics or people monitoring their sugar intake, you can use honey or agave nectar. Juices, such as orange, can also be used, but the fresh-squeezed variety is better than the pasteurized version for taste and presentation purposes.
To make a large pitcher of sangria:
- 1-1/2 to 2 bottles of red table wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Tempranillo, etc.)
- 1 cup of rum
- 1 cup of brandy
- 3/4 cup of vermouth
- 3 cups of soda or seltzer water
- 1-1/2 cups of select fruit, diced into 1/2-inch squares
- Sweetener to taste
Stir the mix in the pitcher until the sweetener dissolves and store in the refrigerator for at least six hours but preferably overnight. Serve chilled in wine glasses , making sure that each one has two tablespoons of the fruit medley, and garnish with an orange slice and a sprig of fresh mint (optional). Food pairings include tapas , chips and salsa, and manchego cheese.