A Can't-Miss Combo
active: 15 min
total: 15 min
On a recent sultry afternoon I found myself at Maccabi, a kosher tapas restaurant in Barcelona, where I dined on charcoal grilled chicken, and sautéed potatoes in a spicy garlic sauce; all was washed down with icy cold glasses of Spain’s famous wine punch, Sangria. It was a great combination.
For almost as long as man has been drinking wine, he has been mixing it with other ingredients. The ancient Romans sweetened their wines with honey and herbs, while water and fruit juices were used to make the wine of ancient Spain more palatable, and, in some cases, potable. While today Spain produces some of the world’s best wines — wines that certainly don’t need to be adulterated to be made palatable — the ancient tradition of diluting and flavoring wine remains ubiquitous in Spain. And the modern drink that results from that tradition is Sangria.
Sangria, when well made, is light, fruity, crisp and refreshing, and a great choice of beverage for a barbecue. There is no official recipe for the red wine-based drink, the name of which is derived from the Spanish word for blood. In fact, were one to ask a thousand Spaniards for their recipes for Sangria, in all likelihood one would receive 1,500 different answers. The recipe below is the one we use in the Kronemer household.
In Spain, Sangria is usually made from young, rustic wines often bought in gallon jugs directly from the local winery. So when selecting wines for Sangria, you’re going to want to limit your choices to simple, youthful reds. If you want to make Sangria from a Spanish wine, Ramon Cardova Rioja, En Fuego Unido, and Elvi Ness would all work well. However my usual wine choices for Sangria are French; either Bokobsa’s Cuvée du Centenaire Côtes du Rhône or Cellier des Dauphins’ Coteaux Du Tricastin.
Wine-based mixed drinks, such as Sangria, can never match the sophistication and subtlety of a good wine. Yet served at the right time, and in the right milieu — with a good cut of meat on the grill, a good pitcher of Sangria can be almost irresistible.