Spanish Sangria: Fresh, Fruity, and Fun

Sangria is a Spanish drink, made traditionally with red wine mixed with brandy and fresh fruits. While sangria is traditionally red, other variations exist, including white (Sangria Blanco), sparkling (Cava), and Zurra (peachy sangria from the South of Spain). Perfect for social gatherings, sangria is a drink that is both widely satisfying and enjoyed. Focusing on the traditional red, this is a complete guide to creating a pleasantly refreshing Spanish sangria at home.

STEP 1: CHOOSING THE INGREDIENTS

Focusing on the traditional, there is no definitive recipe for the Spanish wine punch; however, choosing a favorable foundation, a well-mannered dry red wine makes all the difference.  Although many say to go inexpensive, as the brandy and fruit will mask the cheapness of the wine, for a respectable sangria to be made, a step-up from box wine would be favorable.  True, not wasting money on the most expensive wines are excellent advice, and although it may be made with the cheapest, middle-of-the-road produces a richer taste.

“Dry red wine” covers a vast variety, and while many would fair well with a sangria recipe, there are a handful that go above the rest.  Keeping with sangria’s culture, Rioja, a Spanish wine, maintains the authentic taste; however, Merlot, a Red Zinfandel, or Pinot Noir are a couple rich alternatives that are widely available.

When choosing a Brandy to pair, middle class is best.  Choosing both a commendable wine and brandy provides the most desirable flavor.  For example, Christian Bros. VSOP is a nicer version of the bottom shelf Christian Bros. VS.  Looking to keep with the Spanish lineage, Fundador is a respectable pick.

STEP 2: THE RECIPE

Subtle sweetness, paired with the tartness of red wine, the following recipe produces a variation of the wine punch for those whose pallet prefers fruity and sweet, a punch without the overwhelming bite of alcohol.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • (1) 750 ml bottle red wine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 3 cups ginger ale
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • (2) lemons
  • (2) limes
  • (1) orange
  • (1) package strawberries

Directions:

  1. In a large pitcher, mix together the brandy, triple sec, and red wine.  Add the lemon juice, orange juice, lemonade concentrate, and sugar.
  2. Cut one of the lemons and limes, and the orange, into thin rounds.  Cut the package of strawberries into quarters.  Float in mixture.
  3. For best results, chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Before serving, add the ginger ale.
  5. Cut the remaining lemon and lime into rounds and use as glass decorations.

STEP 4: THE PRESENTATION

The presentation of a pitcher of sangria is just as powerful as its taste. Traditionally, sangria is served in a pitcher with a pinched lip so that the fruit and ice does not fall into the individual wine glasses, creating a splash. Many Spanish sangria pitchers are made of pottery and decorated with colorful designs. However, some people enjoy using glass pitchers that display the sangria inside.

Modern Sangria Pitchers

Traditional Sangria Pitchers

Red, Red Wine

Red Wine

My family has always had a glass of red wine with dinner, and they would always claim that it was good for your heart.  Turns out, it is.

In France, the incidence of coronary heart disease is 40 percent lower than it is in the United States.  The French consume high-fat diets, smoke more, and exercise less than Americans.  Researchers say that the moderate consumption of red wine is the key to a healthy heart.

The consumption of red wine is ranked higher in France than anywhere in the world, while the United States ranks as one of the lowest, and heart disease accounts for 41 percent of all American deaths.

Red wine seems to have a flushing effect on the heart’s artery walls, removing blood clots and excess platelets (which cause blood to clot).  Therefore, one to three glasses per day with meals can help prevent coronary heart disease.  In fact, it can cut the chances by 50 percent.

There have been studies indicating for almost two decades that moderate wine consumption can lessen the risk of heart disease, but most of them were preferable to red wine rather than white.

However, it isn’t just “French” red wine that have shown disease decreases, but red wine in general, which is linked to the specific action of the red wine for its protective activity on the cardiovascular system.

The French benefit from better eating habits of three meals per day and no snacks.  The food is fresh and carefully prepared, not fast and frozen like most American food.

In fact, hospitals in Europe have given many older patients a small ration of red wine with meals for years.  It has been linked to life in countless studies.

Therefore, why not enjoy a nice glass of red wine with dinner?  It is proven to be worth it.