Five steps to your signature sangria — three traditional ‘understandings’ + two presentation inspirations

Sangria makes a delicious potable for hot weather days. You as a host or hostess, may present a signature sangria to guests. All you need are three basic understandings behind the traditional sangria,  plus two presentation options.

Three basic understandings
Firstly, Sangria is a Spanish red wine punch served in south Spain all year round, and in the north seasonally. Basic recipes call for red wine and seasonal fruits. Some also call for brandy or other liquors.
     The base is red wine. Traditionalists recommend a Spanish Rioja or Tempranillo. Take your time finding one you like. Yet if you want your sangria tomorrow, go ahead and take any red you already know, and to which you’d like to add fresh fruity aromas.
2. Secondly, understand that sangria calls for seasonal fruits, and that the fruits are marinated in the wine up to 16 hours.
     These days, most of us may find out-of-season fruits year round at stores that ship them in. I recommend going to your own garden or to farmers markets to pluck fruits for your sangria.
     Many a sangria recipe call for citrus fruits — that folks like me in the Midwest cannot find in our backyards. No worries at-all. Relish in fruits that are grown nearby, wherever you are. Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or peaches, blueberries, apples, or cherries. Cut simple slices and drop them into the select wine.
     Let the concoction marinate overnight, Your select wine will absorb the fruits’ flavors and aromas.
3. Thirdly, understand that you may add variations by whim.
     You may love your sangria via the first two “understandings” and share it with élan. Or add two-to-five ounces of  liquor like brandy, before marinating. This to promote a smooth undertone taste, and to add cha-cha-cha to the concoction.
     To make a bubbly sangria, add club soda. If you select this add it after marinating, to keep bubbles fresh.

Overall recipe guidelines:
—One bottle red wine, and seasonal fruits, sliced.
—Added ingredients may include two-to-five ounces liquor or liqueur
— and for “bubbly” sangria (optional) add up to a 12-oz. bottle club soda.

+ Two presentation options

4. Presentation – glassware.
     Pour the concoction into a glass pitcher. Stir gingerly, so not to bruise fruits, brandy or liqueur. Pour the sangria into ice-filled glasses.

Pitchers: Traditional sangria pitchers have a pinched lip, to withhold fruits while pouring. Yet, some folks choose pour-lip pitchers to allow the fruit to fall.

Glasses: Folks in the wine industry suggest wide-rimmed glasses. The width allows the fruity bouquet to open up, whether you pour from a pinched or pour lip pitcher. Per the latter, it easily receives the fruit pieces.
     The choice is yours. Do you prefer guests raising sangria glasses filled with fruit slices, or sans fruit slices yet accommodating a fruity bouquet.
5. Presentation – the garnish.
     Top with garnish that represents what’s in the sangria. For example, a sliced strawberry or peach, or a cherry sprig cozying the glass rim.  If you’re in a hot climate that spawns citrus fruits, cozy a citrus slice.
     Or garnish with a local herb atop, like mint or lavender.

    Take on “hot-blooded” Latin verve and compose a sangria. Indulge your guests to raise a glass with it.
     You have every right to tweak the recipe and the presentation as you continue to make sangria, and you likely will. So start now. Salud!

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