Arriba! Sangria!

Pitcher of Sangria with Two Glasses, Fruit, Cinnamon

Sangria. Sahn-gree-yah. It’s hard not to say the word without a fleeting inclination to do some flamenco. With a name that evokes the Spanish word for blood (Sangre), Sangria is a fruit-and-liquor laced wine punch beloved by Spaniards and…well, just about everyone else.

The tradition of Sangria can be traced back only so far to a Spanish summer sometime in the 1800’s when an unknown Spaniard decided to put some Rioja on ice, and add some fresh summer fruit and a dash of brandy. The French caught on quickly and began to make their own versions with Bordeaux in place of Sangria – though whatever name they came up with clearly wasn’t as catchy.

It didn’t take long for Sangria Blanca (white Sangria) to catch on and become just as popular. Americans were introduced to Sangria at the World Fair of 1964 in New York City. Americans, with their taste for mix drinks, like to mix their Sangria with a splash of Triple Sec in lieu of the traditional Brandy, but otherwise not much was changed.

And with one sip, it’s easy to understand why! Of course, the combination of fruits that are used in each recipe is a matter of taste but it’s not uncommon to see any combination of green apples, orange slices, nectarines, pineapple, berries, and melon. Added sweeteners also vary from recipe to recipe and can range from honey to orange juice to nothing at all!

Looking to mix up your own pitcher of Sangria? Try using a light fruity Rioja, Bordeaux, Beaujolais, or a fizzy Lambrusco if you like a little tickle. For Sangria Blanca, an unoaked Chardonnay is sure to do the trick but a fruity Sauvignon Blanc or a Spanish Albariño would be just as nice. We recommend using fresh fruit (instead of frozen) as it will contribute more flavor and have better texture. Enjoy!