Sangria Basics

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Sangria is a DIY dream. It’s a wine punch with fruit and liquor in it. What kind of wine, fruit and liquor? That’s up to you.

Some people like to top off their sangria with ginger ale, lemon-lime soda or club soda. Some people like it room temperature, while others drink it over ice. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like sangria. It’s possible they wouldn’t be people worth knowing.

Using expensive wine is a waste, since any nuances in flavor will be obscured by the sugars and liquor. Don’t use wine that has been left open too long; it will have oxidized. Even though you’re adding other things, wine is still the primary flavor in this punch, so you should like the one you use.

You can make it with any kind of wine–red, white, rose or sparkling. Dry wines without a lot of oak and tannin flavors are the best. Brandies are the traditional choice for liquor, though rum tastes great, too. For the fruit, pick three or four that complement each other, and remember that sliced fruits release their flavor more quickly than whole fruits like blueberries or grapes, which are entirely protected by the skin. Fruit juice, herbs and spiced can also liven up a wine punch.

If you use sparkling wine, don’t open it until you’re ready to serve. Instead, steep the rest of the ingredients together so the fruit can release its flavors. Then top off with the sparkling wine when you’re ready to serve. Here are some fruit combinations we love, but it’s anything goes with sangria:

Red Wine

  • Orange, lemon, apple
  • Pineapple, orange, cucumber, strawberries
  • Fig, Bing cherries
  • Peaches, blueberries, blackberries, Meyer lemon

White Wine

  • Pineapple, mango
  • Tangerine, grapefruit, watermelon
  • Strawberry, raspberry, nectarine
  • Pear, apple, orange, apricot

Here is a red wine sangria recipe that you could make using any of those fruit combinations … or one you dream up yourself:

Ingredients:
1 750 ml bottle red wine
2 oz Cognac
2 oz triple sec
2 oz simple syrup
2 cups chopped fruit

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and let them steep in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 12 hours. To serve, put a scoop of the fruit from the sangria in each cup, then pour the punch.

Optional: Top off each glass with one or two ounces of club soda, ginger ale or lemon-lime soda.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman from DIY Cocktails.

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