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How to Practice Sangria

Written by Jennifer Jordan
Filed Under: Wine Types

Is it just me or do all of you, upon seeing a pitcher of sangria, open your arms wide and find yourself saying, "Come to mama." Personally, I can't help it: I am a sucker for anything that contains wine, including sangria. In fact, I wait for the days when sangria is mixed with H20 molecules and made to flow easily from the kitchen faucet. How bout it science? Get on that for me.

You might not be as zealous about sangria as I am, but chances are you've at least heard of it. If you haven't heard of it, keep reading: you might learn something. If you have heard of it, keep reading: use this article as an aperitif for your sangria meal.

The Sands of Sangria: Planting its roots in Portugal and Spain, sangria has made itself popular in many countries. Derived from the Spanish word sangre, meaning blood - yum, blood - sangria became popular in the US in 1964 when it was introduced at the World's Fair in New York. A punch-like drink, consumers found themselves enjoying it during hot summer days.

What the Container Contains: There are about a million and one ways to make sangria (seriously, I've counted them), but it usually involves a combination of red wine (Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.), fruit, sweetener (honey, for example), water, lemonade or a citrus flavored soft drink, and a small amount of brandy or triple sec. Though red wine typically beats white to - forgive me - the punch, white wine is sometimes used as a replacement. When this happens, sangria turns into sangria Blanca.

Recipe for Improv: As stated before, sangria can be made a variety of ways: it is the freestyle dance of the alcohol world. However, it is typically prepared by cutting the fruit into cubes or slices and mixing all of the ingredients together with the exception of ice and carbonated soda. The sangria is then placed in the refrigerator for several hours: the longer it is allowed to chill out, the better all of the ingredients will mix with each other. Once it's removed from the refrigerator, the ice and carbonated soda are reunited with the other ingredients and the drinks are served.

Knock, Knock: As you consume sangria, you might find yourself being able to knock several glasses back, or you might find that one glass knocks you completely on your back. This is because the alcohol content in each batch of sangria is very different. A sangria made with Port will be higher in alcohol content than one made with Zinfandel. A sangria made with an entire bottle of wine will be stronger than one made with half a bottle. And a sangria made with way too much triple sec might have you seeing triple in just a sec.

When in Spain, Don't Inhale: Although Spain in the mother ship of sangria, it's not necessarily the best place to try it. This is because much of the sangria made in Spain is often made in huge batches, with cheap wine and cheap alcohol, and served in large punch bowls. Sangria, to those in Spain, is comparable to jungle juice in the USA.

Making sangria yourself, or going to a place you know makes it with decent ingredients, is your best bet at a good sip. If you use good wine and good spirits, you will ultimately make a good batch and find that you, with my zealousness, totally agree.