The Origins Of, And Two Recipes For, Summer Sangria!
Many warm evenings can be winnowed away with the assistance of slowly sipping Sangria. It is light, refreshing, and with all the added fruit, has the conception of being somewhat healthy. It can be made in advance, served in carafes or pitchers, and can be prepared for small gatherings or events that number into the hundreds!
Exactly, What Is Sangria?
It is primarily a punch, made with red wine, to which fruit is added, sometimes fortified with a stronger spirit, and frequently spritzed with a little seltzer to give it some bubbles. The word “Sangria” is derived from the Spanish word for “blood” referring to the color of the wine. I would think if I asked a majority of folks its origin, they would indeed say “Spain!”, but they would be wrong. Traditionally, Sangria has been made with Spanish Tempranillo and other wine from Rioja with added citrus fruit. But even so, no Sangria has ever been made the same.
The Earliest Versions
Early Greeks and Romans mixed their wines with fruits, sweeteners, and whatever they had on hand to temper the taste of not so good wine, and called it “Hippocras”, the parent of both Sangria and Mulled Wine. One must remember that water in urban areas was often bacteria laden, so mixing in some alcohol purified it, and the added fruits and spices made it more palatable.
Traveling Through Europe
In the 1700s and 1800s, a style of sangria was made in England and France using traditionally French grapes. There was also white sangria, sparkling sangria, and sangria made with peaches, which was called zurra. The drink in all its forms had flashes of popularity in the U.S. in Spanish restaurants and certain city alcoves.
Finally, Sangria Arrives In The U.S.!
The current craze for sangria in the U.S. dates back to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Spain’s sponsored pavilion featured the drink, and Americans have been thirsty for sangria ever since.
In my opinion, there is no “correct” way to prepare Sangria. It is really just up to one’s liking. One does not even have to use red wine, but instead it could be white, or sparkling, or rosé…. Hmmm that gives me an idea… what about a Sparkling Rosé Sangria? With lots of fresh berries! Really, why not…
Allowing the mixture to “steep” a few hours allows the flavors to wed
1 orange, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 lime, thinly sliced crosswise
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup green grapes, halved
1/4 cup brandy
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine, such as Rioja or Cabernet Sauvignon
4 cups (32 ounces) chilled lemon-lime soda, or seltzer, depending on the sweetness desired
In a pitcher or large bowl, combine orange, lime, apple, grapes, brandy, and red wine. Stir to combine and refrigerate 1 hour (or overnight). To serve, add soda/seltzer and ice.
Sparkling Rosé Sangria
Should be served immediately to maintain the effervescence
1 bottle Rosé (well chilled)
1 bottle Prosecco (well chilled)
½ cup Simple Syrup (See below, brought to room temperature)
1 cup blackberries
1 cup sliced apple
1 cup raspberries
1 cup sliced peach
Prepare Simple Syrup: Combine ½ cup sugar with ½ cup water in a small pan over medium heat. Stir until sugar melts. Remove from heat, let cool. In the meantime, place fruit in the bottom of a large carafe or pitcher. Add simple syrup and stir. Pour Rosé and Prosecco over top. Give a stir.