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Discussing sangria recipes is best done in body armour – everybody has a recipe with a secret ingredient, or one that has been handed down from a great aunt somewhere, or a recipe for “real” sangria from a Spanish friend. In my quest for a better sangria, I have travelled down all these shady roads and I am constantly surprised at how passionate people become about their sangria recipe. In my experience, there is a sangria for every mood, every climate, and it is a sin not to try them all at least once!

Sangria is thought to come from Iberia and is basically a wine punch, a combination of wine, fruits, sweetener, a carbonated beverage, and sometimes a little liquor such as gin, brandy or rum. Every one of these ingredients has its variations – the wine can be red, white or mulled, the sweetener can be sugar, honey, or agave syrup, the liquor can sometimes include liqueur such as triple sec, the carbonated beverage can be seltzer, 7-Up, or even none at all, and the fruit options are almost limitless – pineapple, grapes, apple, oranges, berries, lime, nectarines, mangoes, peaches…you get the idea! Therefore, below is one recipe I like, a very middle-of-the-road, not to sweet, not too alcoholic, drink once can enjoy for a lazy Tuesday brunch. So as they say in Spain, salud, dinero y amor…y tiempo para gozarlos!

Ingredients:

  • Wine – one bottle, red. I prefer fruity wines to dry, and so I usually go with a simple French Beaujolais or a young Pinot Noir, but I suppose a Merlot would do too.
  • Brandy – ¼ cup. I have generally used Baron Henri de Cressac VSOP Cognac, but any decent brandy will do. If you want a Spanish brandy for your sangria, Cardenal Mendoza Brandy is quite good too.
  • Liqueur – ¼ cup, orange-flavoured (preferably triple sec, but some of my friends have used Grand Marnier without much variation)
  • Seltzer – 750ml (this is not the same as club soda, which contains salt; can substitute with sparkling water if necessary, or ginger ale if you want a sweeter experience)
  • Orange juice – four tablespoons, fresh
  • Lime juice – two tablespoons, fresh
  • Apple – one, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • Grapes – one small bunch, approximately 15, green seedless
  • Orange – half, thinly sliced
  • Lemon – half, thinly sliced (I have never tried this, but recommended heartily by my friends)
  • Sugar – 50g, or approximately 5 tablespoons (can substitute for agave syrup if you really want to)

Preparation time: 2 hours, 15 mins

Process:

  • Pour the wine, brandy, liqueur, orange juice, and lime juice into a pitcher. Add the sugar. Mix until completely dissolved.
  • Add the apple cubes, orange, grapes, and lemon and mix gently
  • Chill for at least two hours. If you are in a rush, chill for at least one hour and add a tray of ice. Remember that ice dilutes the sangria, and so be careful how much you add
  • Stir in the seltzer just before serving

This recipe is for a standard, run-of-the-mill sangria. However, I strongly recommend experimenting with peaches and berries once you get the hang of this recipe. ¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa’ dentro!

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