Today, December 20th is National Sangria Day—and we lift a glass from the punchbowl in celebration of fun, fruity holiday Sangria. While one might think of Sangria as more of a cold quaff to fight the heat of a summer afternoon, the versatile, and popular communal wine punch can take on many forms that will bring an equal measure of holiday cheer.
Sangria is most commonly made from red wine, a variety of hard alcohol (traditionalists favor brandy), various fruits, simple syrup, triple sec and spices. However, within these broad strokes, there are endless variations on a delectable wine theme. Some sangria recipes use white wine instead of red–called “Sangria Blanca” in Spanish—while others have hopped aboard the Rosé wine trend to produce a blush version bursting with tutti-fruity flavors.
Changing up the blend of spirits and fruit can shape-shift the final product from traditional Iberian to tropical celebration, while playing with the bubbles and sweeteners can lead to fascinating (and delicious) results. Instead of adding sparkling water for bubbles, why not experiment with Cava to up the game, or embrace the whimsical and add a dash of orange Fanta to make a tasty Tinto de Verano.
Read on and enjoy five tips from BinWise to create the ultimate Sangria concoction…
- Sangria starts with wine: Interestingly, although we associate Sangria with the Iberian peninsula, the first mentions of a “Sangaree”, a roughshod wine-punch associated with West Indies bars of ill-repute, is thought to be Sangria’s direct predecessor. Even so, Traditionalists would favor Tempranillo (Rioja) or Grenache as a wine-base to build upon, although any fruity wine with soft tannins would suffice. Got some Beaujolais lying around? Go for it.
- Add the Essential Orange: Citrus is a key component of Sangria, with both orange juice and rind being classic additions to the mix. To amp up both flavor and octane, orange-flavoured spirits do the trick—a health dash of Triple Sec or Cointreau add body and a nuanced orange flavor and aroma. An interesting orange variation involves adding Orangina or, interestingly, Fanta orange soda to add both fizz and sweetness to the punch. Muddled oranges, orange slices, orange juice, oranges frozen floating in your punchbowl, orange liqueur or orange bubbly sugar-water…take your pick!
- Don’t forget some bubbles: What isn’t made better by adding bubbles? (We love our Champagne here in the office) Adding bubbles to your Sangria makes it more holiday festive, so don’t hold back: sparkling water (in moderation), sparkling wine or even a splash of sparkling hard apple cider will perk up the punch.
- Spice it up: Blend thin slices of fresh ginger, throw in a cinnamon swizzle stick and a fresh split vanilla pod.
5. Make it hot: Mulled wine, Sangria’s bundled up Northern European cousin, is the perfect variant on those cold nights when something belly-warming is de rigueur. Leave off the bubbles, warm your punch and add an extra splash of brandy or calvados at the end (just because). Or for an effort free version, why not pick up a pre-mixed version from our Scandinavian friends from Ikea:
HERRLJUNGA GLÖGG, mulled non-alcoholic wine
Hot mulled wine, a drink usually consisting of red wine, mulling spices and raisins, is a tasty alcohol-free alternative found at the ultimate Swedish holiday store, Ikea. Check out their non-alcoholic recipe at: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_JP/pdf/20112_winter/glogg.pdf
So dust off that punchbowl, pop a bottle of your favorite wine mixer, add a few of the above tips and Ole’! Celebrate National Sangria Day! http://www.nationalsangriaday.com/
Share your favorite holiday Sangria tips and tricks with us on the BinWise blog!
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