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Sangria is a kind of wine punch of Spanish origin. The basic ingredient for the sangria is an inexpensive red wine which has not been weathered too much. The dry and acidic property of the red wine is utilized in preparing the punch. Several other kinds of red wines that can be used in a sangria recipe includes the Italian reds like Bardolino, Grignolino, Freisa, Lambrusco and Dolcetto. Beaujolais and the Gamay are French wines that serve the purpose equally well. Sliced citrus fruits or a variety of berries are often added to the sangria with melon, grapes and mango forming exotic substitutes for the delicate punch. The sweet taste of the sangria can be achieved by adding honey, sugar or syrups. Fruit nectar and orange juice may also be used in place of the more commonplace sweeteners. The sangria recipe remains incomplete without the addition of another spirit which is usually brandy or triple sec. Some sangria punches also contain ice along with carbonated soda. Dusting of cinnamon powder gives the sangria its spicy flavor.

History Of Sangria Recipe

Sangria is typically Spanish in origin but had been enjoyed all over Europe for a more than a hundred years. The original sangria recipe recommended Claret, the British term for Bordeaux wine, as its main ingredient. Hippocras, a form of spiced wine consumed during the middle ages seems to be the precursor of the sangria. The United States of America got its first taste of the sangria in 1964 when it was served by the Spanish World area at the World Fair of New York. There has been no looking back since then with several variations of the original sangria recipe being popularized all across the nation.

Ingredients And The Sangria Recipe

The traditional sangria recipe is still favored over the other kinds of wine based drinks especially at a party. The most important ingredients that goes into the sangria are:-

• Wine- Traditionally made with the red wine, the sangria can also be prepared with the white wine or the sparkling variety depending on the taste of the individual involved. Some people prefer the sweet wine while others go in for the dry wine while preparing this wine based punch.

• Fruits- Adding a number of fresh fruits which can range from the humble orange or lemon to exotic varieties of grapes, watermelons and mangoes tends to enliven the taste by providing it with a fruity flavor. Frozen berries can also be added to the punch in order to enhance the taste as well as the nutritional value.

• Liquor/Liqueur- While fruity liqueurs help to keep the sangria mild, an addition of hard liquors like the vodka, rum or gin makes it the drink with the coveted kick.

• Herbs- The spicy flavor of the sangria is obtained by adding lots of crushed ginger or cinnamon powder to the fruity wine punch. Orange peels are a welcome addition to the drink as well especially during winters.

• Ice- The drink is best served cold. Adding a lot of ice cubes helps to keep it cold but dilutes the flavors quite a bit. The ideal solution to retain the flavors is to use the washable, plastic ice cubes within the drink. Making the punch according to the sangria recipe is easy enough. The punch can be either served in a ceramic jug or a wide bowl from which it can be ladled out. The wine is first poured out into the serving bowl or dish with a good amount of fruit added to it. The bigger fruits need to be sliced into smaller pieces while whole berries can be added to the drink. A few drops of liqueurs help to impart the requisite flavor to this fruity punch. The entire concoction needs to be prepared well in advance so that the fruits get a chance to absorb the wine while the drink gets saturated with the fruit juices.

Variations Of Sangria

There are a number of interesting variations of the sangria depending on the kind of ingredients used. Some of the most popular ones are:-

• Sangria Blanca – Prepared with white wine. Known as Clerico in Argentina.

• Zurra- A punch popular in Northern Spain, made with peaches and nectarines.

• Mulled wine- Heavily spiced wine served warm.

• Non alcoholic- Prepared by mixing together some wine grapes, carbonated water and cane sugar. The entire concoction is flavored with a lemon essence.

• Sangaree- A similar alcoholic drink consumed in the West Indies. Sangria Nutritional Facts Sangria contains some vitamins and minerals on account of the fruits that are mixed with it. However, there are no dietary fibers or other dietary benefits associated with the drink although some amounts of sodium and potassium are present in it. Sangria: Trivia The burnt red color is also known as sangria.