Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sangria - to beat the heat

The 4th of July is upon us and what better way to celebrate with friends or family than by relaxing in the shade with a glass of something cool and refreshing. I have just the thing! Beer, you ask? No, Sangria.

Sangria is a wine punch typical of Spain. Usually used is a light, dry, young, acidic inexpensive fruit-forward red wine such as Rioja, Tempranillo or Grenache. French varieties can work too including Gamay and Beaujolais. To give the punch its characteristic fruitiness, chopped or sliced fruit, often citrus in nature but even apples, peaches and berries or melons can be added. For some sweetness honey, sugar, simple syrup, orange juice of some kind of fruit nectar are added. Also added is a small amount of brandy or cognac and orange liqueur, ice and carbonated water for a little fizz.

Sangria is thirst-quenching and delicious on a hot day. If you can get past the idea that it's nothing but a glorified wine cooler from the 80's, try this.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

Several recipes can be found on the internet. They are all fairly identical. This is the one I usually make.

Classic Sangria

1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
2 Tbsp. superfine granulated sugar, or better yet, simple syrup
1 bottle red wine, preferably Spanish
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
1/4 cup orange liqueur such as triple sec, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 cup chilled carbonated mineral water or club soda

Wash and slice the fruit. Dissolve sugar in cognac and orange liqueur. Add this mix and the fruit to a pitcher or punch bowl. Pour in the wine, stir to mix. Chill overnight or for at least 8 hours before serving. When ready to serve, add in the mineral water to give it some fizz. Serve with ice cubes if you wish.

Ole! And Happy Fourth.

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