Thought to have been consumed in Iberia as far back as the Middle Ages, sangria was officially introduced to the American market at the Spanish Pavillion during the 1964 World’s Fair.
Interestingly, a 2014 EU law states that only sangria made in Spain and Portugal can be labeled as “sangria”. Others must be labeled “sangria produced in …”. It also refers to sangria as an “aromatised wine-based drink”. And that it is, it smells like summer.
Chocked full of fresh, in-season fruit plus citrus (especially oranges and lemons but try limes and you’ll be pleasantly surprised) makes this delightful adult beverage easily customisable. Have a bumper crop of ripe and ready peaches? Berries bursting? Fresh pineapple on the counter? You are on your way to a wonderful sangria.
Beware, it’s a boozy beverage. In Portugal we use our fabulous wines—red, white, or rose—a bit of Portuguese brandy, and a generous splash of our famous Port. But according to Chef Pedro Monteiro at the fab Taberna Baldracca, in Lisbon’s Mouraria neighborhood, the secret ingredient is a splash of beer. Really.
Avoid the pre-made bottled stuff. While equally appealing at a sidewalk cafe or a swanky restaurant, making “real” sangria at home couldn’t be easier. Some fruit, spirits, herbs and spices, sweetener, water and ice, a little crushing and a good stir, and a pretty pitcher and you’ll find this refreshing crowd-pleaser perfect for a backyard barbecue, petisco party, or a warm, lazy afternoon.
While there are many, many versions of sangria—none better than another, here’s how Chef Pedro prepares his sangria. And if you visit, order a pitcher, a glass just isn’t enough!
Ruby Red Sangria
Complements of Chef Pedro Monteiro, Taberna Baldracca
Fresh fruit, wine, Port and a couple surprises make this sangria sing!
Yield: 1 litre
• fresh oranges, lemons, apples (roughly chopped)
• 50ml Portuguese brandy
• 50ml red or white port wine
• 100ml simple syrup (to taste)
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• red, white or rosé wine, chilled
• 12 fresh peppermint leaves
• sparkling water
• splash of beer
Using a 1L pitcher, combine chopped fruit, brandy, port wine, simple syrup, and cinnamon sticks. Stir well, gently crushing the fruit. Add wine. Bruise peppermint leaves and add to pitcher. Add ice and stir briskly. Top with sparkling water and a splash of beer. Give it one more stir and serve.
• To make red sangria use a ruby port and red wine
• To make white sangria use white port and white wine
• To make rosé sangria use white port, rosé wine, and fresh berries in place of the orange, lemon, apple combo
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