Sangria rhymes with festivity. Indeed, this drink is quite easy to prepare in large quantities and has an alcohol content low enough (usually less than 10%) that you can (almost) drink it till the end of the night…
What is the origin of sangria?
Sangria comes from the Spanish word meaning “bleeding” or “bloodletting” because of its bright red color. The beverage has existed for centuries. Indeed, winemaking was introduced by the Romans in Spain about 200 BC.
In the Middle Ages, water was rarely potable. It was used for bathing and washing animals but rarely drank. Milk was preferred for infants and wine was the favorite drink for adults, as alcohol could kill germs. This is how many wine-based drinks have emerged, including sangria.
Other drinks close to sangria also enjoyed success throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Hypocras, for example, which was known throughout Europe, is composed of wine, honey, ginger and cinnamon and is one of those sangria-like drinks whose name is attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates, although this drink was first documented during the fourteenth century.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the English began to popularize Claret Cup (or Claret Punch), a drink similar to sangria based on Bordeaux wine with sherry, sugar, lemon and orange.
How to make sangria
Like many traditional recipes that have been transmitted from generation to generation and traveled through various regions, there are several ways to make a traditional sangria recipe, although some elements remain essential.
Originally, the fruits that were used were orange and lemon, but over time, other fruits were added such as apple, pear, nectarine, peach and other fruits. Traditional sangria is always made with red wine, ideally Rioja but any young red wine will do for a good red sangria recipe.
There are several Spanish wine-based drinks that are similar to the Spanish drink: tinto de verano (wine and gaseosa or soda water), pitilingorri or caliguay (wine with lemon or orange soda), calimocho (wine with Coke). Zurracapote or zurra is a variation of the traditional Spanish recipe with stone fruits such as peach or apricot. Sangria blanca is the white wine version.
There is also a lessor known version which carries a rather dubious name… indeed, matar judios (kill Jews in Spanish) is a variant of sangria that is served during Holy Week in bars in Leon, Northwest Spain. The origin of the term, although not very clear, dates back to the Middle Ages and is attributed to anti-Semitic practices during the celebration of Good Friday.
No reason to wait for the summer to enjoy this traditional sangria!
- 6 cups red wine (2 bottles)
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 oranges , peeled and diced
- 1 lemon , peeled and diced
- 2 peaches , diced
- 2 apples (Granny Smith), cored and diced
- ½ cup lemon-flavored soda (Sprite, 7 UP, Gaseosa or La Casera)
- ¼ cup liqueur , Cointreau, Grand Marnier or brandy (optional)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pour orange juice into a large punch bowl.
- Add the orange, lemon, peach and apple chunks into the bowl.
- Pour the red wine, soda (or carbonated water mixed with sugar).
- Add the liqueur and cinnamon stick (optional).
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and macerate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Add ice before serving.