Created in Spain and first made popular on these shores at the 1964 World's Fair, sangria is based on the traditional red wine punch - made from claret, a French Bordeaux wine - that has been popular in Europe for eons, with some fruit and brandy added for flava. "Sangria is the perfect party punch that just about everybody loves," says Lisa Shea, editor of the fab WineIntro.com.
Shea explains that although traditional sangria is made from red wine, brandy and fruit, it can be made in an almost limitless variety of ways - probably as many as there are sangria freaks with opinions on the topic. "It's one of the most individualistic drinks on the market. Don't just buy a mix at the store," she advises, "have fun and create your own!" The fun of sangria is taking your fave red wine and fruit and then experimenting.
SANGRIA TIPS: In the don't-say-we-didn't-give-you-a-heads-up category, please, for the love of god, don't be tempted to cheap out and use anything other than good quality red wine. You & your posse will thank-thank-thank us in the morning. Although Rioja gives the most authentic Spanish flavor, any good red will suffice. Also, always chill overnight whenever possible as it vastly improves matters.
Before we get into some actual sangria recipes - first things first: the necessary accoutrements to enhance your sangria-quaffing enjoyment:
- SERVE IT IN STYLE: It's been scientifically proven that sangria tastes better served in a fancy pitcher. This handpainted number is cleverly designed so your ice cubes won't tumble into your glass & it holds up to six big-ass servings. Salut! PrevailingWinds.com
- DRINK UP WITHOUT BREAKAGE: A festive bev deserves an equally festive glass. These "Dot Dot Dot" glasses from CrateAndBarrel.com add a splash of color, and because they're acrylic, you won't have to worry about some inevitable drunken butterfingers breaking any of them.
- DON'T FORGET TO EAT: Stave off the munchies - and avoid getting trashed too early in the evening - with these cute and clever condiment trays from UncommonGoods.com.
- SUNNY SUMMER PLATES: Forgo the predictable paper plate-age with these happy, colorful plates. Your fashion friends will approve. PlumParty.com
- PUT THE ROLL OF PAPER TOWELS AWAY & NO ONE GETS HURT: Rather - go for these supa' festive & fruit-themed napkins for a much-deserved dose of frivolity. IslandMadness.com
And now, courtesy of WineIntro.com, some Fun sangria recipes:
FRUIT PUNCH FOR ADULTS: BASIC SANGRIA RECIPE
- 1 bottle Rioja or other red wine
- 1 shotglass of lime juice
- 2 shots of Bacardi
- various seasonal fruit, chopped up
Mix everything together, stir well & refridgerate overnight. Serve with ice cubes.
MEDITERRANEAN FLAIR: ITALIAN RESTAURANT SANGRIA
- 2 bottles fruity red wine
- 15 ounces of cranberry juice
- 10 ounces of Grenadine
- 8 ounces Sweet Vermouth
This tastes better if you make it ahead of time: Mix all ingredients together & stir well. Throw in some cherries & orange circles & refridgerate overnight. Serve over ice. Enjoy.
LUCK O' THE IRISH: IRISH WHISKEY SANGRIA
- 1 bottle Roija or other red wine
- 1 bottle (750 ml) Sprite
- 4 cups Irish whiskey
- 4 plums, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 can (12 oz) lemonade concentrate
Mix everything together & refridgerate overnight. Pout into a pitcher & serve over ice.
HELP! I'M-THROWING-A-HUGE-BASH: JAY'S PARTY SANGRIA RECIPE
- 4 bottles Cabernet Sauvignon, warm
- 1 bottle White Zinfandel, warm
- 3/4 quart orange juice
- 2 small cans pineapple juice
- 1 can Sprite
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
- 3 oranges - cut into wheels
- 3 limes - quartered
- 6 strawberries - halved
Combine ingredients in a vat and let sit for 2 hours. Then refridgerate overnight. Serve over ice, and add fresh fruit.
WHITE IS ALRIGHT: WHITE SANGRIA
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 short cinnamon sticks
- 1 bottle white wine - use something dry & not full of oak eg. French or Spanish
- 1 cup sparkling water
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 oranges - cut into wedges
- 10 cherries
- 2 apples - cut into pieces
Heat the water, sugar & cinnamon sticks and simmer for 5 minutes - then let cool back to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon sticks & mix in the rest of the ingredients. Refridgerate overnight & serve with ice cubes.
sangria pitcher: http://www.tienda.com/ceramics/pop/cm-07.html
EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK: FIVE FRUIT SANGRIA
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 triple sec
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 bottle (6 ounces) club soda
- 1 of each of the following: orange, lemon, lime, red apple, peach - cut into wedges
Put fruit wedges into a pitcher & add in the rest of the ingredients. Let sit for at least 2 hours. Serve over ice.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THAT SUGAR?!! MELON LOW SUGAR SANGRIA
- 2 bottle Melon/Mango Sparkling Ice (a flavored water available in different fruit flavors)
- 1 bottle White Zinfandel wine (for sweeter sangria) or Rose (to make it more dry)
- 1 cup strawberries - sliced
Not just low sugar, it's ridiculously easy to make: Mix the Sparkling Ice & wine. Add strawberries. Chill & serve with ice.
STAY SKINNY WHILE YOU GET DRUNK: ATKINS FRIENDLY SANGRIA
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 1 bottle diet orange soda
WineIntro.com's Shea recommends Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon because "it's really inexpensive per glass that way, and the wine is actually pretty tasty." Stick to diet soda sweetened with Splenda rather than Aspartame, such as the Waist Watchers brand.
Want more-more-more? Shea has tons more recipes on her WineIntro.com site. Experiment away!