With its fruity red wine base, it’s little surprise that sangria – with its fully immersed versatile seasonal diced fruits – makes the perfect summer cocktail.
it’s incredibly easy to whip up a pitcher or punch bowl of this festive, fruity thirst-quencher. Besides, who can argue that a boozy fruit salad is not the perfect excuse to start day-drinking before noon?
One of the beauties of this Spanish export is the fact that just about anything goes. We’re talking about a red that hasn’t been finish the day before, or even a cheap one that would never have been palatable on its own. Ideally, you’ll want a wine that’s fruity but dry, slightly acidic, and low in tannins to complement its freshness. However, as is with other cocktails, using quality ingredients will ensure that your version is as authentic as possible, and wouldn’t require additional sweeteners or flavourings to make up for the taste — or lack thereof.
For the best sangrias, choose Spanish Rioja reds, which use Tempranillo and Grenache grapes to give a well-rounded, full-bodied flavour. The former, for example, is an easy-to-find wine that’s filled with delicious notes of cherry, plum, vanilla, and cedar. Grenache is known for its candied red fruit flavours that are complemented by hints of cinnamon and black pepper.
You can also go wild with the fruits you choose to incorporate — besides the usual apples, oranges, and lemon, adding summer berries or nectarines will give your concoction more sweetness, tartness, and even depth. Brandy is usually used to bolster the drink’s bold flavours, but rum is an equally acceptable alternative that imparts a nice warmth and complexity too.
Those who enjoy their sangrias fizzy will appreciate the recipe below, which sees a citrus-flavoured soda (like Sprite or 7-Up) replace sweeteners to add both fizz and sweetness to the drink. If you want to keep your calories low, or find that your sangria is already sweet enough from the fruits, a dash of sparkling water or soda water would suffice.
Here’s how to make a stunning sangria, and where to buy the best ingredients for it.
What you’ll need:
1 bottle red wine
1/3 cup brandy (or more to taste)
1 orange (1/2 with rind on, sliced into small pieces with seeds removed; the other 1/2 juiced)
1 green or red apple (cored with skin on, chopped into small pieces)
1/2 lemon (chopped into small pieces)
1 cinnamon stick
Lemon-lime soda or soda water to taste
Add the wine, brandy, orange juice, diced fruit, and cinnamon stick to a large pitcher, and stir to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve the sangria over ice, topping off each glass with a splash of bubbly soda (or soda water) if desired.
Tip: Letting your sangria sit overnight will allow the mixture to develop a richer and fruitier flavour. The sangria will taste a bit harsh if you’ve just made it, so be patient and let it sit.
(Featured image credit: Mezclajeté; Hero image credit: Love to Know)
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore