We love days dedicated to wine. And in December, Sangria is the perfect tipple to see in the yuletide season. Sangria is an easy-to-make wine-based fruit punch often spiced up with the addition of brandy. Perfect for parties, or for relaxing outside on a long summer afternoon, you can enjoy it with Mexican or Spanish food and great company.
Where did Sangria originate?
The word Sangria is generally thought to be taken from the Spanish word sangre (meaning blood), although some believe it comes from Sanskrit via the Urdu sakkari (sugared wine).
Sangria's origins are a mystery, but it has been said it was first created by Romans travelling through South-Western Europe over 2000 years ago, planting vineyards as they moved north. Back then water was considered unsafe to drink, so alcohol was added to fortify and kill off the bacteria. Fruit, herbs, and spices were added to suit the palate.
Sangria was introduced to the Americas in the 1800's but didn't become established until the 1940's onwards when it became popular in Spanish restaurants and at the 1964 World’s Fair.
What wine works best in Sangria?
Not all Sangria is made with red wine. You can also use white wine, rose, cava or prosecco, and even cider. If you're sticking with red, it's best to use a young, unoaked, inexpensive wine. Something like Tempranillo, Pinot Noir or Malbec is ideal.
How to make Rosé Sangria
Multi-award-winning winemaker Jo Gear says a Rosé Sangria is the perfect thirst quencher on a hot day. Here’s her favourite recipe.
1 bottle (750ml) of fruity Rosé such as Lobster Reef Marlborough Rosé 2017
1 cup each of ginger ale and lemonade
One bunch of mint leaves
An orange, thinly sliced
A handful of strawberries, halved
A big slice of watermelon, diced
Put fruit and mint in a large jug with a handful of ice cubes. Stir in chilled wine and soft drinks then serve immediately.