Posted by: cherylyoung | July 25, 2013

From our Victoria Times Colonist, try it, you’ll like it

Eric Akis: Sip sangria in summer

Eric Akis
/                                          Times Colonist                                  July 23, 2013

VKA-sangria-356101.jpgSweet B.C. cherries and cider combine in this refreshing, patio-perfect sangria.  Photograph by:  DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

VKA-sangria-355801.jpgPink wine and vibrant summer fruit make this sangria appealing to the eyes, and to the taste buds.  Photograph by:  DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

Previous                     Next                  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Sweet B.C. cherries and cider combine in this refreshing, patio-perfect sangria.  Photograph by:  DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

When the weather’s hot and you don’t want to think a lot, plunk yourself on a patio and sip sangria. It’s the Spanish-style drink that will cool you down and make life all about enjoyment, not the worries in the world.

Although the drink has a calming effect now, how it eventually became popular in its country of origin began with some plundering and conquering.

Doing that in Spain eons ago were the wine-loving Romans, who wisely discovered, when settling in the area, that the terroir and climate were ideal for growing grapes.

As time moved along, Europe’s penchant for wine-based punches enhanced with fruit, and often other alcohol, reached this part of the world. Spain’s version became known as sangria, a name derived from the Spanish word for blood, sangre.

Sangria got that reference built into its name because it’s traditionally made with red wine that bears a colour similar to blood. That colour also symbolized the fact that Romans spilled a lot of blood moving into areas where grapes now grow.

According to the New Food Lover’s Companion, your typical sangria is made from red wine, fruit and/or fruit juices, soda water, and sometimes liqueur or brandy. Although in Spain, from house to restaurant to corner café, how the drink is made can vary according to local tastes and preferences.

These days, sangria is also made with other colours and styles of wine. For example, sangria blanco, white sangria, is made with white wine. In areas of Spain producing sparkling wine, you’ll find a version of the drink based on that bubbly beverage.

Despite its long history in Spain, North Americans didn’t get formally introduced to sangria until 1964, when it was sampled at the world’s fair in New York. It was a hit with the fair’s global audience, started a sangria craze and now the drink is also enjoyed in many parts of the world.

That craze also resulted in other variations of the drink being made. For example, in today’s recipe, along with a red wine-based sangria, I’ve made one with rosé wine and another with B.C. cider.

When making wine-rich sangria, don’t use inferior wine. If it has no body and character, your sangria will taste like a soup made with watery stock: boring! I’m not saying to use pricey wine to make the drink; just be sure what you buy is something you would happily drink on its own.

Sangria is usually served communally from a pitcher. Because the drink is strewn with bits of fruit, it’s best to use a pitcher with a pinched lip so that the fruit doesn’t drop from up high into the glass, and splash. You do want some fruit in the glass, but it’s better to spoon some in from the pitcher rather than have it plopping in.

Rosé and Summer Fruit Sangria

Rosé wines are popular and very delicious to use in sangria, particularly when combined with ripe, in-season fruit. Serve with small forks so you can pull out that fruit swimming in the drink and eat it.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus chilling time

Cooking time: None

Makes: About 5 to 6 (2 glasses each) servings

2 (750 mL) bottles dry rosé wine

1/2 cup orange liqueur

1/2 cup icing sugar, or to taste

2 medium, ripe apricots, halved, pitted and thinly sliced

1 large plum, halved, pitted and thinly sliced

1 medium ripe nectarine, halved, pitted and thinly sliced

1 cup fresh blackberries

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1 medium lime, halved and thinly sliced

2 cups soda water

• ice

Pour the wine and orange liqueur into a large bowl. Whisk in the icing sugar until dissolved. Taste and add more icing sugar, if needed. Add the fruit, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, stir the soda water into the sangria mixture. Fill a pitcher or two, depending on size, half full with ice. Ladle in the sangria and serve.

B.C. Cherry and Cider Sangria

Two tasty B.C. ingredients combine in this perfect-for-the-patio summer drink. Serve with small forks so you can pull out the cherries swimming in the drink and eat them.

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time

Cooking time: None

Makes: About 4 to 5 (2 glasses each) servings

2/3 cup Kirsch or other cherry brandy, or apple brandy

1 cup unsweetened cherry juice (see Note)

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup icing sugar, or to taste

2 cups fresh pitted sweet cherries (see Note)

• ice

6 cups (1.5 L) dry cider

• mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Pour the cherry or apple brandy and juices into a medium bowl. Whisk in the icing sugar until dissolved. Taste and add more icing sugar, if needed. Add the cherries, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, stir the cider into the cherry mixture. Fill a pitcher or two, depending on size, half full with ice. Ladle in the cherry/cider mixture and serve. If desired, garnish each drink with a mint sprig.

Note: Unsweetened cherry juice is sold in bottles in the juice aisle of some supermarkets. I used Knudsen brand. If you can’t find it, you could try cherry-flavoured pomegranate juice, or cranberry juice in this recipe.

When pitting the cherries, do so over a bowl so you catch any dripping juices. Add those juices to the sangria mixture.

Red Wine Sangria

This is a more traditional blood-red-coloured sangria. For a Spanish-style taste, use a Spanish wine such as Spanish Rioja.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus chilling time

Cooking time: None

Makes: About 6 (2 glasses each) servings

2 (750 mL) bottles red wine

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brandy

1/4 cup orange liqueur

1/2 cup icing sugar, or to taste

2 lemons, halved and thinly sliced

1 large orange, halved and thinly sliced

• ice

2 cups soda water

Pour the wine, juice, brandy and orange liqueur into a large bowl. Whisk in the icing sugar until dissolved. Taste and add more icing sugar, if needed. Add the fruit slices, cover and refrigerated for at least four hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, stir the soda water into the sangria mixture. Fill a pitcher or two, depending on size, half full with ice. Ladle in the sangria and serve.

Eric Akis is the author of Everyone Can Cook Everything. His columns appear Wednesday and Sunday.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: