Making the Perfect Sangria

2768793354_d303a497d311Sangria has swept across the nation and become a beverage phenomena.  It is perfect on a hot sunny day, but mostly drunk in your local tapas restaurant.  Many Chicago restaurants do a great job, my favorites being Emilio's Tapas and  1492 Tapas Bar.  Very few ingredients are needed to make basic sangria, but being the Windy City Wine Guy, I have to spruce it up a bit for you.

Sangria is basically wine, with additives to make it sweeter and fruitier.  It is very much like a spiked punch.  Anything from juice to water has been used since before Roman times to sweeten and cut wine, making it easier to drink for certain palates. 

Now to make a basic sangria, start with some wine, white or red.  Cut some fruits like apples, peaches, grapes, or oranges, and add them.  Add a juice (orange is used most frequently) and brandy to the mix.  Finish it off with some carbonated water and ice, then you are all set!

You can also go authentic and national.  Make a Spanish, French, or Italian sangria.  Just make sure to add that nation's wine and brandy to the mix.  When purchasing either, try to be frugal.  Remember, you are adding  much to the mix, so the wine and brandy does not have to be of great quality.  Using good, but inexpensive table or boxed wines, will do.  For Spanish, use Bodegas Castaño Monastrell ($6.99), French use Mas Basile Syrah/Grenache ($8), and Italian use Caldora Trebbiano D'Abruzzo ($6.99) for white or Falesco Vitiano Cabernet/Merlot/Sangiovese ($7.99) for red.  Also, if you use a sparkling wine, you will not have to add sparkling water!

For my favorite recipe, use: 2 bottles d'Arenberg Stump Jump Red, 1 cup orange juice (not from concentrate), 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup cognac, 1/4 cup Cointreau liqueur, 2 cups San Pelligrino sparkling water, 1 cored and chopped Gala apple, 1/2 cup halved and seeded grapes, 1 pitted and chopped white peach, 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, 1 orange sliced into rounds, ice.

Take the fruits, except the orange rounds, and top with cognac and Cointreau, and leave overnight.  The following day, add the wine, juices, sparkling water, and ice to the fruit/liquor mixture.  Pour into tall glasses and garnish with the orange rounds.  This is sure to be very tasty and impress guests!  Try it out be sure to comment on your reviews and favorite recipes.

(Photo courtesy of flickr)