Sangria is the best antidote for a hot summer afternoon. My recipe has never let me down and is always a great success when I prepare for my guests. Easy, refreshing, not overly sweet and mild alcohol content. This drink can be served in a pitcher, punchbowl or a classic beverage dispenser with spigot. I usually make it in large quantities because in Puerto Rico, Sangria is a very popular drink and people would drink Sangria over beer or hard liquor anytime. Here, most informal family restaurants offer Sangria as part of their menu. The important thing is to make it fresh! If you choose to make it ahead of time, prepare the mixture and leave out the lemon soda and ice until the moment you are going to serve. For best results choose a young, fruity, unoaked, inexpensive wine. Most of the time, I buy and inexpensive wine from the Rioja region in Spain made from Tempranillo grapes, but you may use a French boujolais, Italian dolcetto or lambrusco. My suggestion is that you serve over ice instead of adding the ice to the mixture so that it doesn’t become diluted.
This wine punch typical of Spain has been popularized in many countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. A similar version known as Sangaree can be found in the West Indies. There is also a simpler variant of Sangria called “Tinto de verano” ( red wine of summer or wine spritzer) which is part wine, part “gaseosoa” (a mixture of carbonated water and lemon juice) garnished with lemon slice. I like to make this version when I am on the boat because it is so simple to make and you know that boat kitchens have limited space. There are hundreds of recipes depending on the regions, the ingredients at hand and the preferences and creativity of the person preparing the Sangria. However, what makes a Sangria a Sangria is that it has all of the following: young fruity red wine, chopped or sliced fruit, fruit juice, sweetener and a small amount of liqueur like brandy or Cointreau. In addition, most Sangria recipes add carbonated lemon soda. Here is my version of Sangria!
1 bottle of young, dry, inexpensive red wine (750 ml)
1 1/2 cups of orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp Cointreau, Grand Manier, Brandy or Rum
1 can of Lemon Sierra Mist, Sprite or 7-up, 11.27 ounces (If you don’t have any of these make a mixture of “gaseosa”, made with sparking water and fresh lemon juice)
1/2 red apple (diced and diced)
1/2 orange (thinly sliced and halved)
1/2 half a yellow lemon (thinly sliced and halved)
1. With a large spoon, mix all ingredients in a large pitcher, punchbowl or beverage dispenser with spigot a few hours before serving to allow flavors to settle. If you are going to make it ahead of time, leave out lemon soda and add just before your serving. Serve Sangria over ice.