Sangria is a cool, refreshing Iberian summer punch. Traditionally, Sangria is made by mixing inexpensive red wines with sugar. This concoction is then marinated with the juices of freshly sliced tart fruits, most commonly Valencia oranges, green apples, lemons, and limes.  Over the years, Sangria has been enhanced by adding brandy, vodka or gin, carbonated waters, or lemon-lime soft drinks. Sangria can even be made using white, rosé, and sparkling wines.

More than just a drink, for the Spanish the intensely red punch has come to symbolize “el sangre de toro” (the blood of the bull), evocative of the importance of the bullfight in their culture.

In the early seventies, I traveled throughout Spain and spent a whole week in Pamplona during the Festival of San Fermin. The Sangria I remember was very rich, not at all watered-down. It was made by bartenders in large buckets and allowed to marinate throughout the week-long festival. Bartenders would fill customers’ mugs from pitchers dipped into the bucket. When they became overwhelmed by the sheer number of revelers,  they would dip old galvanized pails into the buckets and place them outside on the doorstep of the bar for patrons who could not fit inside.

Here are some simple recipes for authentic Sangria, along with recommendations for wines sold at the Harvard General Store. Sangria is best made the day before serving, to allow the wine to properly meld with the fruit juices. One bottle of wine will yield approximately 5 glasses of wine so mix accordingly. If one figures 2-3 glasses of wine per person, each recipe will serve approximately 4-5 people. You will need a 2-3 quart pitcher.

Enjoy! Scott

Sangria Tinta

Made from Red Wine. 

Pour into pitcher:
2 bottles of red Iberian wine such as:

  •     Pata Negra TORO  ($10.95)
  •     Orlegi, Rioja, Tempranillo   ($14.95)
  •     Anciano, Tempranillo   ($12.95)
  •     Pata Negra Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon  ($12.95)
  •     Casa De Saima, Colheita Tinto, Portugal  ($12.95)

Add and stir thoroughly until dissolved:
3 tablespoons white sugar per bottle, or to taste
Add slices of:
1 orange
1 lemon
1 lime
1 green apple
1 ripe peach
Chill overnight; serve over ice or straight up with slices of fruit and orange rind.

Sangria Blanca or Rosada

Made from White or Rosé Wines.

Pour into pitcher:
2 bottles of white Iberian wine such as:

  •     Pata Negra, Verdejo, Rueda  ($10.95)
  •     Valtea, Albariño   ($15.95)

or Rosés from Roussillon,       Provence,  or Languedoc such as:

  •     Bila-Haut ($14.95)
  •     Père et Fils, Laurent Miquel($12.95)

Add and stir thoroughly:
3 tablespoons white sugar per bottle, or to taste
Add slices of:
1 orange
1 lemon
1 lime
6 strawberries
1 green apple
1 ripe peach
6 Maraschino cherries
Chill overnight; serve over ice with slices of fruit. And if desired, add 500 mL of San Pellegrino sparkling water for a refreshing twist.

Sangria Cava

Made from Sparkling Wine.

It’s very important to preserve the effervescence of the wine, prepare before hand:
6-8 tablespoons of white sugar dissolved in a small amount of hot water; chill.
Right before serving, pour into pitcher:
2 chilled bottles of Spanish Cava such as:

  •     Dibon, Cava  ($12.95)

Squeeze the juice from and add the slices of fruit as listed in Sangria Blanca.
Quickly add:
Chilled sugar water to taste
Pour over ice; serve immediately with slices of fruit.