Brought to you from Spain, it evokes wonderful gatherings in warm and fragrant gardens.
The name is derived from sangre, Spanish for blood. (Even so, there is a white sangria variation, even though there is no such thing as white blood). It is a delightfully spicy and citrus-y wine drink. It is a great party treat, and great sangria is an immensely popular conversation piece. Go ahead and double or triple the recipe, and serve it in a punch bowl!
No right or wrong way to make Sangria
I developed a very streamlined way of making it. The way I make mine is: half red wine and half strong chai. Unsweetened of course. By using chai, I reduce the amount of wine even while I add a whole layer of flavor and spice with a real kick.
I used to boil tea with my favorite sangria spices: pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves etc. But then I came across my favorite Chai brand, decaf too, Celestial Seasonings. Since their tea holds up perfectly to a homemade mixture, that’s what I’ve been using. But of course you could use other brands chai you like. Try your best for decaf, your late night guests will thank you for a good night sleep!
At the risk of bragging, I must tell you all what I’m always told: Sorry guys, my Sangria recipe is the best, period!
Citrus and Wine
Steeping the citrus in the wine: this step is key. You can do this even a whole day or two before you serving day. I use no sugar or other sweetener at all in my sangria. Here’s why. I’ll give you two reasons:
1. I use semi dry red wine (repeat: semi sweet, not sweet). The one I list is inexpensive, its sweetness very light and balanced.
2. The sliced orange slices leech added sweetness and deliciousness into the wine.
that’s all the sweetness you need right there.
No ice, please!
Heaven Forbid we should dilute our intense flavors! Rather, chill the drink thoroughly.
Adding Other Fruit in Sangria
So long as you have the citrus in place, you could include sliced apples or strawberries as well. All of the fruit will soak up the wonderful wine-chai flavors, and you will have fun munching on it, mouth-puckering rind and all.
- 6 tea bags Decaf Chai Tea
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 bottle semi sweet dry red wine
- 1 each navel orange and thick-skinned lemon, thinly cut into quarter slices.
- Half an unpeeled apple, thinly cut into quarter slices, optional
- A handful sliced strawberries, optional
Steep the tea bags in the boiling water. Let the infusion sit, covered, for a couple hours, until it is good and strong.
Pour the wine into a pitcher, and throw in all the fruit. Be sure to do this step well in advance, a few hours or even a whole day before serving time.
Add the chai to the pitcher, and refrigerate.
Serve completely chilled, fruit and all. No ice whatsoever please.
Variation: White sangria
Same recipe, using semi dry white wine such as riesling
Makes 2 quarts.