Ahhh, It’s summer and the temperatures have soared. The days are long and if we are lucky they have a nice breeze of refreshing air to dance about us as we enjoy the outdoors. When summer hits, my eating and drinking habits seem to change. The food and drink that I crave lean more towards fresh, cool, crisp, light, flavorful and not labor intensive to make. Drinking plenty of water is always something I try to do and iced tea is a staple at my house, however, when the days are hot and I want something with a little more flavor and fun than iced tea and water, I like to enjoy a nice glass of Sangria.
Sangria is typically a wine punch that most likely originated in Spain, but is enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean areas as well as the world. An Italian take on Sangria adds additional spirits to the wine such as a shot of Limóncello or Amaretto to your pitcher. Sangria can be made with white wines as well and is called Sangria Blanca. My favorite recipe for Sangria requires a sweet red wine, but if all you have on hand is a table red, a Cabernet or maybe a pinot noir, those are all fine too.
- 1 bottle of Red Wine (preferably sweet)
- 1/2 cup of additional spirits *optional* (Limoncello or Amaretto, maybe even a brandy)
- Fruit * this is to taste but I suggest 1 whole citrus fruit if not 2 whole citrus fruits, as well as a cup of halved strawberries.
- 20 oz bottle of Lemon/Lime soda or Ginger Ale for finishing
To start Sangria, I pour in a bottle of red wine and a ½ cup of any additional spirits I may be adding, such as Limóncello or Amaretto, and set aside. I then start with dicing and slicing some fruit. I prefer to have some citrus in the pitcher, whether lemon, lime, oranges or all of the above. I also like berries. It is berry season in Michigan after all and we can’t overlook the local harvest. If your wine is not a “sweet red” you can add a sprinkling sugar to the berries and let them set in a bowl for 10 to 15 minutes before adding the berries and their juices to your pitcher of goodness. The amount of fruit you add and the kinds you add should be what you find pleasing. If you do not like citrus, then exclude it. The beauty of Sangria is that it is tailored made to your tastes for your enjoyment. At this point in the recipe making, it is best to let the wine and fruit meld together in your refrigerator or cooler for a couple of hours to get better acquainted with each other and to fully blend the flavors of wine and fruit together. After the wine has chilled, I then top it off with some Lemon/Lime Soda or Ginger Ale and give it a little sir. Then serve over ice or just as it is, chilled from the fridge. Your wine should have a sweet, fruity flavor that is complimented with the sparkling qualities of the soda/ale. It is such an easy quick thing to make up in the morning to enjoy with dinner.
As always, drink responsibly, but enjoy.