We all occasionally pop open a bottle of something new and realize that it is just not at all to our liking. Hmm… what to do? Do you throw the whole bottle away? Do you force yourself to choke it down? Do you take it over to your neighbor’s house and pawn it off on them? What if you could turn this junk you aren’t going to drink into something irresistibly tasty? You can – it’s called Sangria. Sometimes it is the kindest treatment for subpar wine – red, white, pr pink.
Sangria is a summertime wine-based cocktail, native to Spain and Portugal. It is refreshing, lightly alcoholic, and deceptively easy to drink. The variations are endless depending on what type of wine you start with, what fruits you and and whether or not you want carbonation (believe it or not, I, the queen of bubbly drinks, prefer my sangria still).
The basic recipe is pretty simple, essentially nothing more than a ratio. Play around with it, try different fruit/wine combos until you find one you like best. As for the extra kick of brandy – feel free to use up that flavored brandy that you bought for one cocktail recipe and you have stuck in the back of your liquor cabinet. Once you try good homemade sangria you will definitely want to serve it at your next patio party, or just make up a batch tonight and have a little fiesta en su casa.
Basic Sangria Recipe
1 bottle of wine
2 cups fruit, sliced or chopped
1-2 T sweetener, I prefer honey, but lemonade concentrate also works really well
1 shot brandy, triple sec, or other spirit
2 cups sparkling water, club soda, or ginger ale (optional)
Lots of ice
Combine wine, fruit, sweetener, and liquor or liqueur in a large pitcher and stir well. Allow the wine to sit in the fridge for at least six hours, but overnight or longer is better.
Just before serving, add ice and the bubbly beverage of choice, put some festive music on, set your patio table with olives, or an antipasto platter, pop up your patio umbrella, sit back and enjoy.
Some suggested combos?
Sauv Blanc and citrus
Sauv Blanc and kiwi
Riesling with apricots and oranges
Pinot Noir with raspberries (crushed up a little) and sliced strawberries
Viognier with white peaches and nectarines (especially tasty with peach brandy)
Merlot with plums and cherries
Zin with blackberries and raspberries (both muddled a touch)
Have fun with it and send me your best combos!