You all know I am a wine lover, but even I can't bring myself to pop the cork on my favorite Cote du Rhone or Chianti in the blistering heat of the summer.
No, at that point, it is time for something cool and refreshing. But still alcoholic.
I like to make Sangria.
I know, I know. It's not French or Italian. But we all love Spain too right?
Yeah, it is still ok to love other parts of Europe!
Sangria, is like fruit punch with wine, named for the word sangre, meaning blood, in Spanish. This could be due to its dark ruby red coloring. It is typically served at parties, picnics and informal gatherings in both Spain and Portugal.
There are hundreds, probably millions, of Sangria recipes floating around out there, most of which consist of fresh fruit, red wine, fruit juice, brandy, ice and some type of carbonated water.
Some versions of white Sangria, called Sangria Blanca, are made with white wine peaches, sliced strawberries, even blood oranges.
Sangria is so quick and easy to make, you can prepare it well ahead of time and you can double, even triple the recipe for parties!
But, the best part about making Sangria is that you can use a basic recipe as a guide and then experiment with what you think might taste good – add a little twist of your own. Use what you have on hand, and you might just find that you create your new favorite.
Obviously it is important to use a good quality wine for your Sangria and make sure it is chilled before using it in the recipe. Use a Rioja if you want to remain true to the Spanish version, but any dry red will work. Just make sure you like the taste of it!
For a white version, try a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc.
Here is a basic recipe I used to make a delicious Sangria, found on MarthaStewart.com
4 oranges, 2 juiced, 2 halved lengthwise and slices crosswise
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1 bottle dry red wine, chilled
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 cups seltzer or club soda
Ice cubes, for serving
In a large pitcher, combine orange juice, sugar and brandy. Stir well until sugar is dissolved. Add wine, orange slices, lemon slices and seltzer. Stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice before serving. Serves 8.
I prefer to chill mine in the fridge for at least a few hours so all the flavors can mingle, but hey, that's just me!
Ahhh, summer refreshment doesn't get any better than this! Salud!