Sangria is a traditional Spanish drink that combines wine with fruit, a little sugar and one or more spices. It was introduced to the U.S. at the World's Fair in New York in 1964 and the rest is history. It's now one of the most popular party drinks in America and around the world as well.
Vineyards reigned supreme in Spain during the early centuries B.C. Invading Romans found miles of nicely maturing grapes here around 200 B.C. and they began importing Spanish wines, particularly the superior red wines, when tensions between the countries settled down. Spanish wines were introduced to the rest of Europe, and sangria was soon to follow.
The wine is sangria's most critical ingredient and it's the basis for this drink's origin. Water wasn't always safe to drink in those days, and the alcohol in the wine could be trusted to banish any bacteria. Then someone got the inventive idea of adding fruits and spices to the wine to liven it up. Technically, the Spaniards referred to any wine punch as sangria, and versions of the popular drink have proliferated since then. Most include brandy, but you can experiment with different liquors and even a variety of fruits, juices and spices.
This Mexican version of sangria is a fruity concoction with a higher alcohol level that makes it great for pairing with spicy foods. Always use a decent wine when making sangria because the wine will be the drink's most prominent flavor. Tradition calls for a red wine.
- 1 bottle red wine (preferably a Spanish vintage such as a Rioja)
- 1 cup Grand Marnier (or Cointreau or Triple Sec)
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 orange (cut into wedges)1 lime (cut into wedges)
- 1 cup pineapple (chunks, drained)
- Optional: Two 4-inch sticks of cinnamon
- 24 ounces lemon lime soda
Place all the ingredients except for the lemon lime soda and the ice in a large pitcher. Any pitcher will do, but a traditional sangria pitcher will add a flair to your party and serve a purpose – these pitchers have a pinched lip specifically designed to prevent fruit and other solids from spilling out into the glasses.
Stir to combine. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or even overnight.
Stir in the lemon lime soda and top off with ice when you're ready to serve. Pour the sangria into suitable glasses, straining off the fruit.
Garnish each glass with a wedge of orange or lime.