Cost: $5-50
What: With football season here you may think summer is over, but think again. With temperatures in the 90s and high 80s there is still time to think about cool drinks. If you like wine, Sangria is the perfect drink on hot, humid days.
You could always buy a commercial Sangria blend, but why? It’s more fun to make your own, and you can blend it to match your tastes. You could use a favorite high-end wine, but with lots of fruit blended in, an inexpensive wine will taste just as good.
Sangria typically is made from red wine, fruit, fruit juices and sometimes soda water or brandy. Citrus fruits such as lemon, lime and orange usually are used, but when making Sangria you are limited only by your imagination. You can add peaches, apples, melons, berries of all kinds, grapes or pineapple. You can add honey, sugar or simple syrup. You even can add 7-Up, Sprite or ginger ale.
You can use just about any red wine, dry or sweet, but it’s fun to make it with a good wine from Rioja. If you like sparkling wine, try making it with a nice Spanish Cava.
One important thing to remember is the drink is better if you make it a day before you want to drink it and leave it in the refrigerator to cool. You should pour it over ice, but if the mixture is already cool, the ice will not dilute it as much. And a day will allow the fruit flavors to mix well.
You can put it in any pitcher large enough to hold the wine and fruit, but traditional sangria pitchers have a pinched lip so the fruit and other solids do not plop into the glass and splash.
If you have a wine tasting or a dinner where you open several bottles of wine and don’t finish them all, you could pour all the left over wine into a pitcher and make some Sangria. Be creative.
Sangria had been popular in Spain and Portugal and other Mediterranean countries for hundreds of years, since the Romans first planted grapes early in the first millennium. Water wasn’t something most people drank back then because it wasn’t always safe. Alcoholic drinks were safer, and locals often added fruit to change the flavors. Sometimes they added brandy to give it a little more punch.
Spaniards started calling this treat Sangria because the drink often is the color of blood, and Sangria is the Spanish word for blood. At the 1964 World’s Fair in New York the Spanish World area served Sangria and it became an instant hit in America.
Here are several Sangria recipes to get you started, but think about how you would make this drink your own, with whatever fruits you like most. And after you drink the wine, the fruits are delicious to eat.
Basic Spanish Sangria
1 bottle dry red wine
1 tablespoon sugar
Juice of 1 large orange
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 large orange, sliced thin crosswise
1 large lemon, sliced thin crosswise
2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
1 cup (8 fl. oz) club soda
Combine all the ingredients except for the club soda in a large punch bowl or serving pitcher, mixing well. Refrigerate overnight. Immediately before serving, mix in the club soda for added fizz. Ladle into cups with ice cubes.
Brandy Sangria
1 bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja reds, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
1 Lemon cut into wedges
1 Orange cut into wedges
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Shot brandy
2 Cups ginger ale or club soda
Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon and orange into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar and brandy. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving.
If you’d like to serve right away, use chilled red wine and serve over lots of ice.
Additional ideas: sliced strawberries, peaches, handful of fresh blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, a shot or two of gin, brandy or rum, a cup of ginger ale, citrus soda pop or lime juice.
Spiked Sangria
1 bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
1 Lemon cut into wedges
1 Orange cut into wedges
1 Lime cut into wedges
2 Tbsp sugar
Splash of orange juice or lemonade
2 Shots of gin or triple sec (optional)
1 Cup of raspberries or strawberries (may use thawed or frozen)
1 Small can of diced pineapples (with juice)
4 Cups ginger ale
Instant sangria
1 bottle of red or white wine
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1 Orange
1 cup Raspberries
1/2 cup Strawberries
1/2 cup Sugar
2 cups Ginger Ale
The “instant” part of this recipe takes a little work upfront. First, you will need to peel the lemon, lime and orange and remove the seeds. Next, put the citrus fruits into a blender with the raspberries, strawberries, sugar and ginger ale. Blend all of the ingredients (except the wine) together, until it is “slushy.” Now pour your Sangria slush into ice cube trays and freeze. When the mixture is totally frozen pop the sangria cubes into a ziploc back and keep frozen. Now the fun part, whenever you have a hankering for an instant Sangria, just pour yourself a glass of wine and plop 3-5 of your Sangria mix ice cubes into the glass. Enjoy!
Sangria with rum
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
1 1/2 cups rum
1/2 cup white sugar
1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup orange juice
Have the fruit, rum, wine, and orange juice well chilled. Slice the lemon, lime and orange into thin rounds and place in a large glass pitcher. Pour in the rum and sugar. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours to develop the flavors.
When ready to serve, crush the fruit lightly with a wooden spoon and stir in the wine and orange juice. Adjust sweetness to taste. You can add mint leaves for garnish.
Goes with: Sangria pairs well with all kinds of food. One traditional match is paella, the Valencian one-dish meal that combines rice with meat or seafood and some vegetables, cooked in a large pan. It also goes well with pizza, burger and pasta.

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