It may conjure up images of sunny Spanish vacations, but what exactly is sangria? Find out here!
Mention the word 'sangria' and two things may well spring to mind - sunshine and Spain! But have you ever wondered what goes into making sangria?
The answer is that sangria is a mixture of lots of ingredients that you probably already have at home. It's actually very easy to make yourself one of these delicious mixed alcoholic drinks - no Spanish sunshine required!
What is sangria?
Sangria is a type of punch. It is basically a mixture of wine, fruit juice, sparkling water, some type of sweetener, flavored liqueur or brandy and fresh, chopped fruit.
There is no single recipe for sangria - it's made with slightly different ingredients in different regions of Spain. The most obvious difference is the color - a red sangria (the most traditional variety) is made with red wine! Sangria blanca - or white sangria - is made using white wine.
The best red wines for sangria are nice and fruity. Merlot, Rioja and Pinot Noir are popular choices. Good white wines for sangria are Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, which have a crisp, dry flavor.
It can be tempting to use cheaper wines for sangria, because so many other ingredients are added. But for the very best sangria, you should always use wine that would taste just as good served all by itself!
Any type of fruit juice can be used, although orange juice is the most popular choice. And you can use any type of chopped, fresh fruit you enjoy, including apples, oranges, pears, limes, peaches, nectarines, pineapple and berries.
Sangria can be sweetened with sugar, or a simple syrup. Agave nectar works well too, and maple syrup adds delicious notes of caramel.
With homemade sangria, the alcohol content will, of course, depend on the mixture of ingredients you use. If you buy sangria within the EU, however, it must have an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 12% vol.
Foods to serve with sangria
It's a good idea to mix your sangria several hours before you want to serve it. That way, the fruity flavors have plenty of time to infuse into the wine.
If you're in a hurry, though, just add plenty of fruit juice instead and squeeze as much out of the fruit and into the wine as you can.
The wonderful thing about sangria is its versatility! It's a great drink to serve to a crowd - why not prepare a few different varieties, so you'll have something for everyone...