Juicy Fruit

Since we wrote about popular champagne cocktails recently, we decided we should devote some time to reviewing one of our other favorite mixed drinks – Sangria. Sangria is a wonderful gift from the Iberian peninsula, enjoyed for centuries by Spaniards and Portuguese looking for something refreshing to help make it through those sultry hot days. Traditionally, Sangria was made with red wine, giving it that famous blood red color, but modern twists make use of almost every type of wine and fruit.

The best Sangrias match wine to fruit. Sweeter wines with a higher sugar content should pair well with fruit that has more of a citrus bite. Drier wines are a perfect base for big, plump berries. With a little experimenting, you can find that combination of favorite wines and fruits that will make you glad it’s so hot outside.

But we’ll help you get started with a couple of our favorites courtesy of the experts at Food & Wine magazine.

Traditional red sangria:

1 bottle of fruity red wine like Merlot

4 ounces of brandy

3 ounces of simple syrup

1 cup of oranges, lemons, and limes (seeds removed)

ice

In a pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, simple syrup and fruit. Place in the refrigerator until the mixture is well-chilled and the flavors have combined, about 4 to 8 hours. Place ice in wine glasses and add sangria.

Mango-peach Sangria:

From the steamy heat of New Orleans, this is a white sangria that uses the lovely sweet flavors of viognier. This is definitely for those who like their sangria on the sweeter side, though the mint keeps this from turning into a straight up sugar rush.

1 bottle of Viognier

1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves

1 cup of Grand Marnier

2 peaches, sliced into thin wedges

1 mango, chopped

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup of water

In a saucepan, cook the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a pitcher and refrigerate until cold. Add the wine, Grand Marnier, mint leaves, peaches, and mango. Serve over ice.

And for those looking for something a little more unusual, or just want to impress the guests, try out this recipe.

Rose sangria with mixed berry ice ring:

2 bottles of your favorite rose

1 cup of blueberries

1 cup of strawberries

1 cup of raspberries

1 cup of blackberries

1 cup of light rum

1 cup of simple syrup

1/2 cup of Campari

1/4 cup of fresh lemons (about two lemons)

distilled water

Layer the berries in a 10 inch Bundt pan and add just enough distilled water to cover the berries. (Add the water slowly so you don’t loose the packed structure of the berries.) Place in the freezer until solid, at least 8 hours, though overnight is probably best.

In a large punch bowl, combine the wine, rum, Campari, lemon juice and simple syrup. Refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes.

Fill a large bowl with hot water. Place the bottom of the Bundt pan in the water to loosen the ice, and invert onto a plate. Add the ice ring to the punch bowl.

Summer heat may be peaking, but there’s no better way to fight it then drinking something cool and fruity. Take a cue from the good people of Spain – find a shady spot, lean back, sip slowly. You’ll find that melting feeling is no match for a scrumptious glass of sangria.

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