Sweet, fruity and refreshing. A cool glass of sangria on a hot summer’s day is hard to beat. The variety of sangria’s available in bars and restaurants is constantly growing so there is no doubt a combination that will please your tastebuds and complement your meal. Sangria is one of Spain’s most famous and popular drinks, tourists from all over the world flock to bars, restaurants and chiringuitos on the beaches of Spain to enjoy a cool glass and take in the views. Each region of Spain has their own version and even then they will differ from place to place, it is up to you to decide which you think is best. Here is a little more history on the drink to help you decide.
Sangria is an alcoholic beverage of Spanish origin. Traditionally it is comprised of red wine, chopped fruit, and juice, usually orange juice. Quite often another alcohol will be added as well, such as vodka or brandy. It is believed that the name comes from the Spanish word sangre, which means blood, because of the dark red color of the drink. The true origin of the drink has yet to be determined, the SAGE Encyclopedia of Alcohol says that sangria’s origins “Cannot be pinpointed exactly, but early versions were popular in Spain, Greece, and England” Some believe that it was created because the water in much of Spain was undrinkable at that time, so a fruity light wine drink was what they would drink instead. While sangria has been popular in Europe for years and years it did not make its debut in The United States until 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. The Spanish World’s area served the delicious and refreshing punch and, well, the rest is history, it is now a popular drink served in restaurants all throughout the country. A summer favorite all around the world.
Sangria is one of the most individualistic drinks out there, almost every family, restaurant and bar will have their own version. There are a few basics however, that will help get you started on your Sangria making process.
Traditionally it is made with a red wine, a Spanish Rioja red wine is the most commonly used one. It is then mixed with fruit such as oranges, peaches, berries, apples, or pears. In the south of Spain they often use peaches and nectarines. Then a few shots of brandy are added, although the use of vodka and other spirits is growing in popularity. And finally it is topped of with a juice, usually orange juice or in some cases a soda is used. You can add, remove or change the recipe to your liking, if you like it sweeter use a soda, if not stick with the juice. Once you have perfected your sangria recipe let it chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least for a few hours so that the flavors can truly blend and infuse. Sangria Blanca, or sangria with white wine is also a delicious option. It has a slightly lighter flavor but is equally as refreshing to enjoy with a plate of tapas. If you are a true Spanish lover than will no doubt of heard of Sangria de Cava, this is made with Spanish Cava, a sparkling white wine. This slightly fizzy version is just as yummy and sure to be one of your favorite.
Sangria is the unofficial drink of summer, so have fun experimenting with recipes, trying it with new tapas and enjoying another great Spanish tradition. There is nothing like a cool glass of refreshing sangria while enjoying the summer sun, whether it be in Spain, on holiday or just at home!