The name Sangria originated from Spain and was appreciated across Europe as a punch cocktail made from the combination of fruit and a sugar-sweetened wine. Rumor has it that this drink was introduced into the US for the first time at the World Fair in 1964.
Nowadays, sangria is considered one of the very most popular wine cocktail in the world. Meanwhile, the most popular bar cocktails in Spain include Gin Tonic, Kalimotxo (Cali-mo-cho, or cola and wine), and Sangria.
Is Sangria a Relatively Healthy Alcoholic Drink?
Many people think that any alcoholic drink is bad for health which is probably true.
However, it is known that red wine in moderation has some health benefits.
Red wine includes small amounts of antioxidants and can make a contribution to reducing the risk of heart diseases. But remember that you only obtain such benefits only if you drink it moderately and healthily.
Another reason that makes sangria favored is the plentiful amount of fruits it contains. It is common knowledge that fruit is good for health, so sangria is really a good choice. The fruit in sangria can be juiced or remain whole.
In general, I usually squeeze the fresh fruit to enjoy the pure taste of fruit instead of buying the fruit juice available in bottles. Besides, when the fruit is permeated with the liquid, I always enjoy the absolutely delicious fruit in the sangria.
After getting more knowledge about sangria, you might want to create your own.
To be able to create the best sangria, the selection of wine is the decisive quality factor.
Below are some types of wine that can be used to make sangria.
What kind of wine do you use in Sangria?
Frequently, white wines do not make you contend with the bitterness of tannins. Therefore, most of the white wines are perfect for your sangria. However, avoid wine, which has a lot of oak, to ensure the freshest taste for your beverage. If you go with Chardonnay wine, make sure it is unoaked.
In case you want a zingy and light sangria, and you are using some garnishes such as limes, lemons, cucumbers, or herbs, you should choose a crisp and rather light white like:
- Riesling from Germany for accentuated lemon flavors
- Vinho Verde from Portugal for a rather neutral base
- Pinot Gris or Viognier for more pronounced tropical fruit aromas, ripe peach or apricot.
- Sauvignon Blanc for a grassy and tropical touch.
- Torrontes from Argentina, highly floral and medium-bodied white.
What is the best red wine to make sangria?
While some people choose white wine sangria, others prefer red wine. Admittedly the most traditional type.
Red sangria is seen as a strong drink. Therefore, your preferred wine will decide the favor of sangria you like.
To make the best taste, you can mix red wine with pears, oranges, and apples. Below are some popular red wines you can use:
- Merlot is generally fruity and round, with a soft body. Mix with slight vanilla, Assam tea leaves, dried fig, and pear.
- Cabernet Sauvignon is often a bigger wine with aromas of cassis (blackcurrent) and blackberry. The palate is filled with loads of cocoa notes and roasted coffee.
- A Pinot Noir wine, an affordable one, is a lighter choice that will bring upfront fruitiness to your Sangria.
Following my experience of testing the foods and wine of each region, I enjoy using the red wine from Spain. Affordable Rioja wines are a Historical Spanish classic for making Sangria. But you will find plenty of inexpensive yet tasty reds from central Spain such as La Mancha or Jumilla.
Can Sangria be made with Rosé wine?
It is suggested that you should enjoy the dry and refined Provencal Rosés, especially the most expensive ones that have been made with great care, for enjoying for themselves, with summery food.
But you can replace it by using fruit-forward and more affordable pink/rosés wines from California or Spain (Rosado).
Sangria and Sparkling Wine
Although making Sangria with sparkling wine is very common, it can be an excellent ingredient for your sangria. The problem is that the bubbly will quickly lose its effervescence (the CO2 bubbles) so you’ll have to make it at the very last minute, and serve it fairly quickly).
Spanish Cava are some of the great bubbly wine values in the world. The affordable ones are rarely oaky or heavy, but rather crisp and zesty which is what you need.
Alternatively, you can always go for an Italian Prosecco.
Is Sangria Sweet?
The short answer is yes, generally. Yet…
Sangria makers often add generous amounts of sugar when making sangria, to make th cocktail more appealing to most palates, and balance out the wine and fruit’s natural acidity.
That said, if you choose your ingredients carefully: a soft dry wine with natural ripe and sweet fruits, you will find that not much sugar actually needs to be added.
It’s all a matter of balance, and how sweet you like your drink. So select good ingredients, and more importantly, taste your Sangria before adding too much sugar.
Tips for making the best sangria
First things, first, avoid really bad wines…
Let’s pay attention to the most vital item: wine.
Don’t use a wine in your red sangria if you would not want to drink by itself. Yes, you can improve the taste of a bad wine by adding fruits and sugar. But the result will never be great if the wine is bad.
Chose a soft and fruity wine that you appreciate for itself. Then ‘augment’ it with fruit.
In case you chose a very dry wine, as an alternative to plain sugar, you can sweeten your beverage by adding tonic water, agave nectar, syrup, or simply sweet fruit juice.
For the best taste, make your sangria one day ahead so that the fruit flavor combines well with the wine (like your homemade soups will often taste better on the next day).
Opt for a glass of good wine. However, do not go crazy on its price as the wine’s complexity and refinement is likely to get lost in the process
But yes, wine is the main ingredient to Sangria, so, just let it shine!