Red Sangria with Limes Oranges and Apples - Detail -

All Of A Sudden, It’s Sangria Weather!

Who’d have thought, just a week ago, that we’d have a forecast high of 29 C (85 F) for today? Under blisteringly Sunny skies? A week ago this morning, we arose to a hard frost on all the emerging greenery. Anyway, it’s time to review the rules for one of the world’s greatest Summer drinks!

Classic Red Sangria - © nationalsangriaday.comClassic Red Sangria with Oranges, Limes and Apples.
Courtesy of National Sangria Day.

Sangria is a Spanish classic and has the distinction of being one beverage that goes well with whatever you might have on the grill or in the smoker. If you’ve tried it, I’ll bet you loved it. If not, it’s time to discover this wonderfully quenching drink.

National Sangria Day is December 20. It’s billed as a celebration of Summer in the middle of Winter. What a great idea! Anyway, you might also want to check out The Party Excuses Network, a clearing house for Nation Days, any of which can be used to justify a party. Holâs!

More of a techhnique

Sangria is more a technique than a hard-and-fast recipe. You can use almost any combination of the requisite ingredients and adjust the proportions to your taste until you have perfected ‘your’ Sangria. Just stick to the rules.

The Rules

All true Sangrias comprise Red Wine, a Hard Liquor, Fresh Fruit Pieces, a Sweetener and a Bubbly Water of some sort.

Just for fun…

…Let’s go through the motions of making my personal Sangria…

First, the Red Wine: Some folks say you can use any dry table wine you want, Red or White. The choice of wine will, to some extent, guide your choice of Fruits and Alcohol. I always use a robust Spanish Rioja – 2 bottles.

Next, the Alcohol: I like an Orange and Brandy liqueur like Triple Sec or Grand Marnier rather than the traditional Brandy – 1/2 cup (125 ml).

Then, some Sweetener: I have tried White Sugar, Brown Sugar, Honey and Maple Syrup. While I usually veer toward Maple Syrup for sweetening in situations like this, I must admit I prefer Honey for this application, especially one with a floral note in the nose like Orange Blossom – 2 tbsp. (30 ml) or to taste.

Then on to Fruit: Orange, Lemon and Lime slices, or a mixture of those coarsely chopped with the skins on, is traditional and I prefer this route to more exotic and international treatments some of which include Pineapple, Kiwi, Mango and the like. Those may be nice in a Sangria, but it’s Citrus all the way for me.

Art this point: We stir all the ingredients together thoroughly and allow to steep, covered, in the fridge for at least two or three hours; as much as overnight if desired. If you can keep your hands off the mixture for 8 hours or more, you’ll definitely taste a beautiful difference!

Finally, add the Bubbly Water just before serving. Some folks – yours truly included – like to mix it in part and parcel of pouring the drink. Strain half a glass of the steeped booze mixture into a tall glass or Champagne flute. Top up with Seltzer, Club Soda, Sparkling Water or – my fave – Lemon-Lime Soda.

Just let the two liquids mingle under the energetic influence of the Bubbly pour and enjoy!

~ Maggie J.