Easy Recipe for Spanish Sangria
What is Sangria?
Sangria is a wine punch, common in the Iberian peninsula that is Spain and Portugal. There is no definitive recipe for Sangria and every outlet which prepares and sells it has their own recipe. It is usually made, however, from red wine, fresh fruit, a carbonated drink such as lemonade and perhaps a spirit of choice to provide it with some extra alcoholic kick. Sangria is a drink therefore with which great experimentation is possible in pursuit of one's own particular favourite combination of ingredients.
Suggested Sangria Ingredients
The following ingredients will make a moderately potent and very tasty version of Sangria:
1 bottle of red wine
5 fluid ounces vodka
¼ pint fresh orange juice
¾ pint lemonade
1 Granny Smith apple
1 tangerine or clementine
2 pineapple rings
1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
Sprig of 5 or 6 basil leaves
It is important to note that there is no real requirement to use an expensive bottle of red wine when making Sangria. Any cheap variety with rich, fruity flavours will suffice and the wine need not even be Spanish. I have used a Chilean red on this occasion.
Combining the Sangria Ingredients
Ideally, the majority of the Sangria ingredients should be combined and refrigerated for a few hours in order that their flavours can best infuse.
The core should be removed from the apple but it should not be peeled. It should then be chopped in to chunks of approximately one square inch. The pineapple rings should each be chopped in to six equal sized pieces. A thin slice should be cut away from both the top and bottom of the tangerine or clementine in order to remove what is only excess pith, before it is cut crossways in to five or six slices of equal thickness.
The red wine, vodka and orange juice should be poured in to a large mixing bowl or jug and the fruit, basil and grated ginger added. The combination should be stirred well and then refrigerated, with only the lemonade remaining to be added at a later time. This is not absolutely essential but does considerably improve on the flavour of the Sangria.
Prior to the Sangria being served, the lemonade should be added and the mixture stirred well.
It is traditional to serve Sangria with large quantities of ice. I prefer not to exercise this option as the melting ice rapidly dilutes not only the strength but the taste of the Sangria. Where the Sangria is properly refrigerated prior to being served, ice should not be necessary but one way to further chill the drink is to pre-freeze some extra fresh fruit and add this in lieu of the ice. This means that the melting fruit will add taste to the drink and not merely water.
Serving Spanish Sangria
When Sangria is served in Spain, it is usually served in a large pitcher with glasses provided for drinkers to help themselves to what they require. Ideally, not only the liquid drink but some of the fruit and ice (if applicable) should also be added to each glass.
Online retailers such as Amazon have brought traditional Sangria serving pitchers and glasses within easy reach of all of us and this means that anyone can enjoy a traditionally served Spanish Sangria at any time, without the need to visit Spain.
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© 2010 Gordon Hamilton