How to Make Sangria
Luckily for wine drinkers everywhere, sangria is not a mysterious concoction that requires exotic ingredients or bizarre cooking traditions. Making sangria is not making a creme brulee, requiring you to carefully brown and caramelize sugar. Rather, sangria is a casual, fun party punch that countless Spaniards have been making in their back yards for centuries. The key words for sangria making are fun, fun, and more fun :)
To start with, sangria involves wine. So you do need a bottle of wine - or at least a glass of it! Sangria can be made on small or large scales. For the sake of this discussion let's assume you have a 750ml or larger bottle of wine that you want to turn into sangria, either to enjoy on your own or to share with friends at a party.
You need to find something to put this wine into, to serve. Traditionally this would be a ceramic pitcher that had a pinched lip. The pinched lip would help to keep the fruit and other items in the sangria from splashing wildly into the glass (especially after the hours roll on!). Other partiers would get one of those large punch bowls with a ladle so that people could serve out their own sangria easily without having to lift up a heavy pitcher. Either one works. In a pinch you can always use a large cooking pot and a regular old soup ladle.
OK, pour in the wine. Note that it can be red, white, rose, bubbly or anything else you find. Sangria is about enjoying yourself and exploring your options.
Step one is complete!
Now comes the making sangria part. You want to add things to this wine to liven it up. Traditionally people would simply go wandering into their back yards and see what was in season. Are the blueberries ripe? Are the oranges round and luscious? If you have a back yard garden, this could be the perfect time to harvest! If you visit a store, you probably have even more options open to you. So add in a few of your favorites. Orange wheels. Strawberries, some cut up, some whole. Peach pieces. Kiwi! Your imagination is the limit. Remember that when people are pouring or ladling that they'll either be seeking to grab some of these pieces or avoid them. Small pieces are fun to "drink down" and enjoy with the liquid - but larger pieces might be choking hazards. Plan appropriately :) Having a whole strawberry, for example, adds visual appeal and is also easy to grab with the fingers. This means the sangria fan not only gets to drink their sangria but also to nibble on a whole sangria-soaked strawberry at the same time.
Sangria also involves liquor. You can add in some brandy or vodka for no-extra-flavor kick, or you can go for Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, Peach Schnapps or the many other flavored liqueurs to get some added flavor. It's all up to you and what end result you're aiming for.
In the ideal world this whole concoction would sit overnight to really soak. That way the fruit flavors get absorbed by the liquid and visa versa. Also, you normally want to drink this cold. If you are in a rush, dump in some ice cubes - or even better buy some frozen fruit and berries. That way they serve as natural ice cubes and also add flavor as they "melt" rather than diluting your mixture.
For serving, sangria is about casual fun. Go with sturdy glasses rather than delicate thin glassware. You don't want to be dancing around shards of glass after one or two glasses are consumed! If you look at Spanish restaurant photos you'll see they tend to use very thick sturdy water type glasses for Sangria. Sangria is all about enjoying yourself and relaxing.
Have fun with your sangria creations, and good luck making sangria!
Sangria LinksSangria Recipes - Master Listing
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How to make Sangria
History of Sangria
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Authentic Sangria Pitcher
Do you have a favorite sangria recipe not shown on my list? Do you have a suggestion about the instructions for any sangria recipe? Please Contact Me - I'd love to hear about it!
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Note: I created these sangria recipes and have had them online for years. If you find similar sangria recipes elsewhere, it's because someone copied my idea. I do appreciate it when visitors write in to warn me about the plagiarism - but usually there's not much I can do about it! What's really funny is when they copy my design right down to my sangria pitcher. That's a bit much :)