5 Surprising Facts About Sangria

Just in time for festivities this Christmas! Why not enjoy a pitcher with your family and friends instead of the usual Egg Nog?

1. The word Sangria ha limited use on the labels in Europe. Since 2014, only sangria sold in Spain and Portugal can be labeled as Sangria. If it’s made elsewhere is Europe, for example, Germany, then is must be labeled “German Sangria”.

2. When we think of sangria, we think of wine, a handful of chopped fruit pieces, some fruit juice, that sort of thing. In Spain, they use Brandy. Imagine the taste of that!

3. Sangria, that new hip thing everyone is getting into, again? Well, it’s been around since the 1700’s. Back then it was referred to as Sangaree. Only since the New York World’s Fair, in 1964, re-introduced sangria, has it been known as the version we love today.

And of course, there has to be a story to go along with it. Due to its blood-like color, the name comes from the Spanish word for blood, sangre.

Here’s where is gets a little more complicated…

4. In 1736, British Gentleman’s Magazine mentions that a punch seller, in London, England, concocted a blood colored drink with the strong, fortified Madeira wine and called it Sangre. The origins point towards Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean. So far, it makes sense…Madeira is a Portuguese wine. Over the next 20 years, the drink somehow developed the name Sangaree.

It is said that Sangaree did originate in the Caribbean then later brought to America. This, too, would make sense if the wine was transported to the Caribbean and the locals mixed it with something sweet since they were more accustomed to sweeter tasting drinks.

Or did the experimenting begin outside the vineyards of Europe?

5. Various versions pop up in recipe books of the 1800’s, such as Jerry Thomas’ 1862 Bartender Guide or Miss Leslie’s 1840 Directions for Cookery (choose link Domestic Liquor) to find:

Sangaree:  Mix in a pitcher or in tumblers one-third of wine, ale, or porter, with two-thirds of water either warm or cold. Stir in sufficient loaf-sugar to sweeten it, and grate some nutmeg into it.  

This is not how we know Sangria, is it?

Make Your Own

Grab your favorite bottle of wine, a cheap one will do since you’re going to mix it. If you want to go traditional, get a bottle of Tempranillo.

Squeeze in the juice from a couple lemons and oranges. Drop the wedges in, too.

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 oz of Brandy.

Throw in your assortment of chopped fruit.

Let sit overnight.

Next day, add your preference: juice or club soda or both. Go extreme and toss in some bubbly white or rose or champagne!

Now, that we recognize today!

Bonus Fact: The mixing is endless. Did you know that a Peach Sangria is considered a Zurra?

Happy Sangria Day and go ahead and dress up your Sangria this holiday!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on December 20, 2017