Spring and summer parties are being planned and its time to talk about refreshing wine concoctions for these upcoming festivities. Fresh fruit and hot weather, or at least the desire for warmer weather, makes sangria the perfect seasonal drink.
Sangria has a long history dating all the way back to the Roman days. Romans invaded Spain back in 200 BC and promptly began to plant vineyards. These vineyards flourished and quickly began to supply much of Rome’s wine drinking needs. The name sangria is said to represent the blood red color of Spain’s excellent red wines, but now the name is synonymous with the wine punch and all of its many variations.
Around the world a version of sangria is enjoyed in some form or another. In America sangria was first officially introduced in 1964 at the Spanish World area at the World’s Fair in New York. Since this time sangria has evolved even further.
The use of fresh fruit is a critically part of making sangria. Traditionally it would be the regional fruits of Spain that were used. Citrus, plums, strawberries, and even peaches are just some examples of the bounty of flavors that have been used in a good wine punch. Many recipes will call for some sort of carbonated water or even soda like Sprite or even a ginger ale. This additive will lighten up the red wine and add a sweeter flavor to your sangria. I suggest experimenting with savory flavors that will complement your chosen red wine. Think about the red wine that you would like to use and pick flavors that may bring out the flavors already available in the wine, chilies, chocolate and even coffee flavors are just some of my favorite.
Sangria traditionally was based off of a red wine punch sometimes being made from unfinished bottles or table wines. There is no reason why a white wine should not be used. Sangria Blanco was first created in the Cava producing region of Spain. With the use of white wines you can get away from the use of heavy sweeteners and really let the subtle flavors of the wine and the chosen fruits complement each other. I suggest melons, cucumbers, citrus, berries, and even mint for some fantastic sangria blanco. Like the traditional red wine sangria always use fresh fruit when available and make sure the wine and fruit complement each other.
What to do with the fruit after it has been soaking in this wine punch. I have a few suggestions that will of course have you consuming more fruit and alcohol. Letting your guest enjoy the fruit is one of the many pleasures of sangria. I suggest making a spiked fruit salad with some of your fruit or even serving the punch with a ladle so the fruit can be added to each of the glasses as they are refilled.
Go enjoy your summer festivities and pour glasses of sangria for your friends.
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