A hot August afternoon, a gathering of friends, and wine. Sounds like the perfect combination to me. Since it was a very hot day, I wanted to lighten things up and make a cooler wine choice. I contemplated serving a crisp chilled white or rose wine but ultimately decided to try making an Italian style Sangria. The event was a party for an Italian group so that seemed appropriate.
Sangria actually has Spanish roots. Wikipedia states:
“Sangria is an alcoholic beverage of Spanish origin. A punch, the sangria traditionally consists of red wine and chopped fruit, often with other ingredients such as orange juice or brandy. The term Sangria dates to the 18th century. It is generally believed to have been taken from the Spanish sangre (blood), in reference to the red color of the drink.”
So how could I take this Spanish wine drink and give it an Italian flair? Well, if you know me at all, you know that I make limoncello (Italian liqueur) so my first inclination is to add it to the drink ingredients. And instead of the traditional brandy I could add Tuaca (a citrus-vanilla liqueur). Throw in a little Punt e Mes (an Italian vermouth) in place of triple sec and we’ve got the beginnings of a wonderful Sangria, Italian style.
Then there is the type of wine to consider. Instead of a Spanish wine, I substituted a nice Tuscan Sangiovese. I probably could have used any Italian red wine and I’ll just have to make it again and try other wines (for research purposes of course). I’ll report back after a few more rounds of research – that is if I can still articulate clearly which might be a challenge.
Some recipes I looked at added a fizz to the Sangria, like 7-up, carbonated water, or ginger ale. Pellegrino sparkling water would add fizz and the flavors of Pellegrino these days vary from lemon to blood orange to grapefruit so that would add some variety. And, let’s not forget about Italian Prosecco! I actually can’t take credit for this addition to the recipe, as Grace brought it to the party and we discovered this was an enjoyable addition to our glasses of Sangria. Thanks Grace!
While I was researching ingredients and recipes, I found a recipe for “instant” sangria. Intrigued I wanted to know more about the instant part. Actually, it is blending the main fruits of sangria and making ice cubes out of the pulp. Then using those pulp cubes with the sangria wine and you have a party in your glass in an “instant.” Party in my glass in an instant? I’m all for that!
I figured two pitchers of Sangria is better than one, so I made two. Truth be told, one pitcher had the Italian vermouth and citrus liqueur and the other pitcher had regular vermouth and triple sec. I couldn’t really tell the difference, but after a few taste tests, and then a few more, I was just happy I was still upright. After all, the party was at my house!