Wednesday, August 8, 2012
A Cocktail in a Wine Bottle – Sangria
Sangria is a wine punch traditionally found in Spain, Portugal and South American countries. The word sangria is Spanish for the act of bleeding. This word was used to describe red wine punches created centuries ago that are now consumed worldwide. It’s is notable that when what we know was modern-day Spain was invaded by the Romans, who planted the early vineyards pretty much everywhere they roamed, they didn’t arrive peacefully. The word sangria may have had a dual meaning early on, to describe both the color of the wines and as a reminder of their bloody origins.
Sangria is historically a pretty simple concoction, containing wine, fruit, a sweetener and a touch of brandy. Variations that use port, sherry, other spirits and even soda in place of the brandy can be found in countries where sangria is a more contemporary beverage. Common during the warmer months, sangria provides a refreshing way to consume alcohol and liven up those dog days.
While traditionally made from red wine, sangrias made from white, pink and blends of different wines are found on restaurant and bar menus when the mercury rises. The possibilities are wide open and there is a style for almost anyone, except non-wine drinkers of course!
I’ve been using my homemade wines to make sangria for several years, but I've never solidified the recipes or even repeated any of them. I did post the recipe for one version from the Summer of 2011. Several of the wines used in that version are no longer available in my cellar, making it very much a one-night-only affair! In the picture above a homemade red sangria stands stoically behind a couple of cocktails that probably weren't half as refreshing.
For the 2012 Independence Day holiday I volunteered to bring three kinds of sangria to the annual cookout at our friends’ Ed & Jim’s place. It was hot and humid out that day and the sangria flowed. I made red, pink and white versions using different wines, juices and fruits. The pink and white versions were the fan favorites, reminding me that Americans don’t have the same tendencies to drink chilled red wine on a hot day as our European brethren do.
I’ll finish this post with the recipes from this most recent outing. With about a month or so of summer to remaining in the US, these might be just the thing you need on your next day around the pool. If you are going to take your sangria on the road make sure you have a cooler large enough to store the vessel, extra ice and plastic cups to serve your friends.
Ancient Fire Red Sangria
1 magnum Ancient Fire 2010 Tempranillo
2 plums, sliced
1 canister cranberry/white grape juice concentrate
½ can tart cherries in juice
¼ cup Fonseco Port wine
Ancient Fire Pink Sangria
2.5 bottles Ancient Fire 2009 Australian Riverland Reserve white wine
8 large strawberries, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 canisters Berry Sunsplash juice concentrate
¼ cup cognac
Ancient Fire White Sangria
2.5 bottles Ancient Fire 2011 Pinot Gris
2 large mangoes, chopped
1 orange, sliced
2 canisters tropical fruit juice concentrate
¼ cup Triple-sec