Cocktail Spotlight: Sangria
Sangria is a wine punch from Spain and Portugal. The name Sangria comes from the Spanish word “sangre”, which means blood, because of the deep red color is gets from using red wine as the main ingredient.
Wine is the dominant ingredient and acts as a base. Sangria normally consists of wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of brandy. The ingredients in sangria vary in the type of fruit used, the kind of spirits added, and the presence or lack of carbonation. The chopped fruit can include orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grape, kiwi, or mango. The sweetener can be honey, sugar, syrup, or orange juice. And other liquids such as Seltzer, Sprite, or 7-Up may be added as well.
White wine can also be used instead of red, in which case the result is called sangria blanca or, as in Argentina, clerico. In some parts of Southern Spain, sangria is called zurra and is made with peaches or nectarines. In some regions of Portugal cinnamon and “medronho” brandy are used. Mulled wine can also be used to provide a rich full-bodied taste, chilled with orange juice, lemonade, and a sliced pear to add sweetness.
Preparation consists of cutting the fruit in thin slices or small cubes, then mixing in the wine, liquor, and sweetener, leaving out the ice and any carbonated drinks. This mixture can be left for several hours, or a full day in a refrigerator to allow time for the fruit flavors to blend with the rest of the ingredients. When ready to serve, mix in the ice and any last-minute ingredients before pouring the drinks.
Sangria is served throughout Spain and Portugal mainly during summer. It is commonly served at bars, pubs, and restaurants in 1-liter pitchers, large enough to hold a bottle of wine plus the added ingredients. However, Sangria is most typically served at informal social gatherings in Spain and Portugal, much like punch, from a large punch bowl, served with a wooden spoon, in order to get fruit out of the bottom. Sangria is also common in Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Chile, and Argentina, and is gaining more and more popularity all over the world.
Here at Havana, we serve Sangria all year long. Our red Sangria (the most popular) consists of red wine, orange liqueur, pineapple juice, cherry brandy, and tropical fruits.