Back to my story. All of us teenagers were sitting around eating our paella like good little girls and boys and the teachers were off at a table by themselves (with good reason). Then their waiter brings them one of the most scandalous-looking drinks that my little uninitiated eyes had ever seen. A pitcher of this ruby red goodness comes by, frosty cold and full of luscious pieces of apples, peaches and pears floating in it. I asked what it was and I was told it was sangria.
Cue angels singing, light shining down from heaven and the feeling of being wrapped in a heavenly cocoon.
Sangria literally means "bloody" or "bleeding" and the name is derived from the color of the drink. There are as many variations of sangria recipes in Spain as there are variations of marinara recipes in Italy or sweet tea recipes in the South. Just like the best foods that have no strict recipe, sangria varies according to your personal preference. Some like it sweet, some like it more tart. Some people like it without carbonation (I am not one of those people). I have only three hard and fast rules:
1. Use a decent wine that you would drink on its own. I think the fruitier wines like Cabernets and Chardonnays go really well without being overpowering in their dry-ness.2. Use fresh fruit that actually smells like the fruit (hence why I rarely make this outside of summer).
3. For God's sake, use plenty of ice. An otherwise perfectly good drink can be ruined without enough ice. It's like drinking lukewarm milk - not unhealthy but it certainly makes you gag a little.
Here is my go-to recipe for white sangria. BTW, if that picture doesn't scream "summer in a glass", I don't know what does.
- 750 mL bottle of white wine - I like Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay
- 2 cups of white grape juice or white cranberry juice
- A couple shots of peach schnapps
- Sliced summer fruit of your choice - really good summer peaches, blackberries and raspberries are really pretty with this
- Club soda