sorting the sangria

20160531_150811.jpg Today’s Cocktail U project is not for the faint of heart. This brew is potent. In order to balance last week’s crackers, which were as basic as they come, we needed a beverage that said, “WHAM! I’m here!”

Wine — a natural fit for cheese and crackers — had to figure into our cocktail. A wine connoisseur I am not, but I do like my red blends. And with summer approaching here in the Northern Hemisphere, our project this week had to be sangria.20160531_150756.jpgThough. Sangria had long intimidated me. While happy to share pitchers with friends at restaurants or parties, I’d never dared make this Spanish sipper at home. It all seemed so complicated: Combine bottles of wine with other booze, cut lots of fruit into small pieces, stir fruit into booze, steep. Might as well make fruit salad for all the effort and sip a favorite wine while you do.20160531_150930.jpgBut then a friend mentioned she always has a pitcher of sangria chilling during summer months. Seemed like a lot of work, I offered. She countered that it’s as simple as pouring a bottle of wine into a pitcher and tossing in whatever fruit is on hand. It was an “ah ha” moment on my end. That was simple. I could do that.

Not exactly a case of “anything goes,” sangria is loosely defined.

Sangria is a beverage, common in Spain and Portugal. It normally consists of red wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of brandy. – Wikipedia

There’s plenty of room to play. Rose would make for a lighter drink. Ice cubes make it possible to go back for more. I’ve also read about grilling fruit (rhubarb included!) before adding to the wine.

Experimenting, I’ve found I like adding a splash of Port wine for the sweet, deep flavor it offers. I’ve yet to add a sweetener, though a bit of sugar would be lovely. The last batch got a few peeled gingerroot chunks in addition to apples and strawberries and I like the spice it added.20160531_151000.jpgAlways happy to pour myself that first glass after giving things a stir, I found that sangria always tastes better the next day after mellowing and trading flavors with the fruit.

Because there’s no recipe (outside of a bottle of wine, glug or two of Port, cut-up fruit–all over ice), it’s never the same drink. In the end, it’s the wine choice that influences flavor the most. My deeper red blends may not be your idea of summer sipping. So with the crackers, we’ll offer Summertime Sangria. However you choose to make it!sangria-1.jpg.jpeg

 

27 thoughts on “sorting the sangria

  1. Wine + cheese + crackers = always one of my favorite combinations. I like what you did to complement the crackers! Sangria is one of those drinks I don’t venture to for some reason – this looks so good though, especially as we are hitting the 100’s already! Cheers!!

    • Sangria is rarely my first choice either, Bonnie, but for some reason the heat of summer has convinced me that I need a pitcher in my fridge at all times. 100F? Wowza. That’s some serious heat. Stay cool, friend πŸ™‚

    • Love that you like the plate, Tracy πŸ™‚ I’m a sucker for fun plates, glasses, etc and if I use them here or on facebook, I call it a business expense!

  2. i love sangria, and kind of always saw it as a kind of alcohol-laden stew. each to his/her own recipe and you’ve just confirmed that for me. your post really makes me crave a pitcher of this sweet treat!

    • I feel like a faker with this post as I know so little about Sangria. (Gunderson is not a Spanish name in case you didn’t get that, haha) But hoping that my know-nothingness inspires others to not take it all too seriously πŸ˜‰ Thanks, Beth!

  3. I do love a good sangria and the color of yours is so tempting. Sangria brings me back to Spain, or summer nights, Mexican nights out and good company always. I love that you featured it here and it’s perfect with aunt Helen’s crackers!

    • You strike me as the type who would also like the deep and dark reds, Amanda πŸ™‚ So glad if this has brought memories back for you. How I envy you your travel!

  4. I never think of Sangria–it just never occurs to me. And I don’t know why because I love all the things that go into it and the romantic notion of sipping it at water’s edge. I wonder if there’s room in the fridge for a pitcher . . .

    • Thank you for coming by, Karen πŸ™‚ I love how things happen in a kitchen. The gingerroot was our for another project and I could hear it saying that it needed to be added to the sangria. πŸ˜€ Sounds crazy, but I’m betting you know what I mean.

  5. Crackers, cheese and sangria…I’ll be at your house later today! This looks fantastic. I seldom make sangria though certainly enjoy drinking it. I’ll have to make it more and they putting the ginger root in. Math at sounds like a great addition.

    • Sorry I missed you if you stopped by today, Gretchen, but I’ll be around tomorrow πŸ˜‰ Can always whip another pitcher! How ’bout you bring some of your amazing baked goodies when you come?

  6. Now doesn’t this look inviting! A pitcher of Sangria certainly would put a smile on my face. Potent stuff?? I’m willing to risk it…sounds delish, Liz!

  7. A perfect summertime sipper. Blake Shelton’s “Sangria” was the song of the summer last year; I recall driving through the midwest singing, “Lips taste like sangria.” So really I’d have to play that in the background to drink this. πŸ˜‰ The first pic looks like magenta sangria on a magenta flower and the second pic looks red upon red. Have my eyes deceived me?

    It is great paired with Spanish dishes like arroz con pollo or paella.

    Whenever I have been served sangria, I just like the pure drink alone (not the stew portion). Leave the fruits in the main pitcher for me. I had it at a restaurant with crushed ice, and that killed it for me. If I wanted a Sonic slushie, I’d have ordered that. The port wine sounds good, especially out by the pool, glass in hand. And bring the crackers!

    Last thing: a few years ago, we went to a pizza joint, and their special cocktail of the day was “endless sangria” for $3. ??? The same girl just went around the joint with a carafe of sangria, topping off everyone’s glasses. That was a very good day. And I never saw that special again.

    • Was the 3-buck sangria any good? Though after the first glass or so, I don’t suppose it matters.

      Good eye on the colors, Kerbey. One is edited for brightness, one is not. I like the fruit chunks myself. If it weren’t for the backwash thing, I would spoon yours out of your glass. Yes please to the arroz con pollo and paella. Your place or mine? Who am I kidding? I’ll meet you at the tapas place. Be sure to wear the feathers in your hair and the dress cut down to there πŸ˜€

  8. Your combining fruits with Sangria sounds delicious served with your homemade crackers and cheese. My Mom was a Spanish teacher so not making this for her high school students never prevented her from making it at home, Liz. She and I say a Spanish toast each time we get one of her juice glasses out and drink some sangria. She used to add sliced oranges and strawberries to her homemade brew. I did see her add some Moscato a few times and it really sweetened it up! πŸ˜‰
    “Salud, pesetas y amor y tiempo para gastarlos.”
    “To your health, money and love and time to enjoy them!”

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