Ah, sangria. For me, the mere mention of this Spanish beverage conjures up images of friends and family, gathering together to enjoy some great food, beautiful weather, and of course this tasty concoction. Sangria is a refreshing, fruity wine punch typically consumed ice cold, in the hot summer months (ok, warm summer months, I live in Vancouver after all, not Spain).
Traditionally, a combination of citrus fruits and apples are added to red wine, although both red and white sangria variations abound. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of apples in my sangria, so I’ve swapped them for strawberries, which subtly lend their sweet berry flavour and nicely offset the citrus notes.
You can, of course, buy bottled sangria. But…
a) where’s the fun in that?!
b) it’s typically loaded with added sugar; and
c) like most things, it can’t even begin to compare to the homemade version
Luckily, sangria is incredibly simple to make. This recipe’s main ingredients are red wine and fruit, with no added sugars – which is about as healthy an alcoholic indulgence as you can hope for. It’s especially terrific for summer BBQs – make a pitcher (or two), and quench everyone’s thirst without having to play bartender all afternoon. Hey, I’ll drink to that! :)
- 2 bottles red wine*
- 3/4 cup brandy (preferably Spanish, but any kind will do)
- 1/2 cup orange-flavoured liqueur (e.g. Cointreau)
- juice of one large orange, strained (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 large orange, sliced into rounds (optional: reserve a couple slices for garnish)
- 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise (optional: reserve a few for garnish)
- 1 large bottle of carbonated water (e.g. Perrier)
- ice cubes
*Most red wines will work. Suggestions for Spanish: Rioja, Tempranillo, Grenache; and non-Spanish: Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot noir, Syrah. Since the wine will be combined with fruit and other alcohols, there’s no point in overspending on a fancy bottle, as most of the nuances that you’re paying for will be lost. In fact, making sangria is a great way to use up any bottles you have lying around that you’re not overly excited about opening. There aren’t many bottles of wine in Canada for under $10, so I ended up paying almost $13 a bottle – but the wine was an organic tempranillo, which was pretty perfect. I was wary of the amount of headache inducing sulfites in a cheap bottle of red, so a few extra bucks for an organic wine seemed like money well spent.
1) In a pitcher, combine all ingredients except for: any fruit reserved for garnish, carbonated water, and ice cubes.
2) Stir to combine. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and allow to refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and up to 2 days.
3) Stir the sangria before serving. Pour some sangria into each glass, over ice, leaving room for fruit and water. Transfer some of the fruit form the pitcher of sangria into each glass (e.g. a slice of citrus and a few strawberry slices). Top glasses up with a splash of carbonated water.
4) Optional: garnish glasses with a slice of strawberry and orange.
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