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Sangria Myth #1 – Sangria is what everybody drinks in Spain right?

Actually, if you visit Spain don’t expect to see anybody other than tourists drinking Spanish Sangria in a Spanish Bar! Sangria is what you make when you have a big fiesta. Why, you ask? Because it’s a cheap way to get a lot of people inebriated!

Sangria Myth #2 – There is a secret recipe to make real Spanish sangria right?

Wrong again; there is no secret sangria recipe; the origin of this refreshment is that was traditionally made with basically whatever cheap red wine, brandy, whiskey, etc. was lying around and whatever half-rotten fruit the makers had on hand.

The mixture would then be sweetened with sugar and cinnamon typically in order to make it palatable. This is why you will actually find a lot of recipes that are believed to make the “perfect” sangria. In truth, there are many and the one you like most will vary based on personal taste!

Sangria Myth #3 – There must at least be a science to making great sangria right?

The truth is there’s no science in mixing great sangria; it’s really a matter of experimentation, how much you want to spend on alcohol and fruit, and how drunk you want your guests to be after drinking a few glasses of your punch!

Here is a basic 5-minute recipe you can follow to make what most people think of as traditional Spanish sangria:

Learn how to make Spanish sangria for your next party. Photo by {manda}.
Learn how to make Spanish sangria for your next party. Photo by {manda}.
Sangria Myth #1 – Sangria is what everybody drinks in Spain right?

Sangria Ingredients:

  • A bottle of cheap red wine … or 2 or 3 if you have a large enough party planned! Don’t worry if you can’t find authentic Rioja or another Spanish wine; any decent red table wine will work.
  • About the same amount of a lemon-lime sparkling drink such as 7up, Sprite, etc. The carbonation will help give your sangria a slight “fizziness”.
  • A smaller amount (say 25% of the amount of red wine) of a spirit such as brandy, whiskey or Cointreau.
  • A good quantity of your favorite fresh fruits … you can use peaches, apples, oranges, tangerines …. Even kiwis, bananas or plantains will infuse a nice flavor that could make your own “secret” sangria recipe a hit with party guests. This is why it’s best to try a few variations before your party. Or, you might even mix a few pitchers with different combinations and have a little taste test.
  • Sugar and Cinnamon … add a little at a time until the sangria is sweet enough to your own taste; some people like it very sweet while others prefer a tangier zest!

How to Mix Spanish Sangria

  1. If you travel in Spain, one thing you’ll find is that red wine is very cheap. You can find Spanish red wine in most grocery or liquor stores. Don’t get the stuff in the carton, but don’t spend too much either, since you’ll be mixing it with all the other ingredients and would only be overspending. I like Rioja, which is very common and can be bought on the cheap!
  2. Chop up your fruit into bite-sized pieces; cut up more than you think you’ll need in case your guests are really thirsty and you end up mixing extra batches during your party! If you have time, you can pour a bit of the liquor you’re using over the fruit and let it soak overnight in the fridge. This adds flavor and also makes the fruit nice and soft; remember in the tradition of Spanish sangria, they would have been using overripe fruit you would probably throw out!
  3. Use a large punch bowl to mix your wine, liquor, fruit and lemon-lime drink together. If you wait until just before serving your sangria to mix everything, it will be a little fizzier than if you prepare it too far ahead of time.
  4. Add sugar sparingly; taste it. Add a little more sugar and sprinkle in cinnamon; repeat the sweetening process until the sangria is just sweet enough but not so sweet people will think its Kool-Aid; to me the best sangria is a taste bud teaser, with just the right mixture of sweet, tangy sour and bitter all together. Again, you have to experiment a little; as with so many great bartenders’ secret recipes; there really is no exact science in measuring ingredients to taste.
  5. Sangria should always be served chilled; pour your Spanish sangria over ice in a pitcher, serve it up and make sure nobody at your party plans to drive home after a few glasses; this is one of those beverages that can really “sneak up” on you!

Do you have your own secret recipe for Spanish Sangria? Leave your comments and share it with everybody.



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