Sangria That Doesn't Suck

What comes to mind when you think of sipping a glass of sangria? Fond memories of a summer holiday spent abroad? Or, perhaps, that hilarious (by which we mean not at all hilarious) memory of drinking a few glasses of the sickly-sweet concoction during a 2-for-1 deal on a bank holiday Sunday and then forgetting how to walk? Whichever it is, it's summer which means it's time to make delicious new sangria memories! No ready-made mixes or paper umbrellas in sight! 

Before we get to the recipe, let's explore exactly why sangria gets such a bad rap. Unfortunately, sangria falls into the camp of wine cocktails, a category that's usually reserved for making awful sweet or acidic wine taste ten times "better" with the addition of more sweetness and, if you’re lucky, a slosh or two of brandy. No. Bueno. 

Sangria actually has a rich history and a special place in the world of wine. (Albeit in Britain that may only be for the two weekends a year when you can’t face any more Pimms.) Sangria's origins are Spanish and it's thought to derive from the word Sangre, which means blood, in reference to it’s colour. Recipes vary from region to region (and from one Pinterest post to another) but popular combinations call for a base of red wine– often a Tempranillo due to its fruity character– being mixed with orange juice or soda water with and a good slosh of brandy, a fruit-based liqueur, or fortified wine. Once the liquids are mixed, sangria is often garnished with fruits including orange slices, raspberries and/or strawberries. 

There are a few common misconceptions about sangria. The first is that the more shit you can put in the pitcher, the better it'll be, but we approach sangria with an ethos of less is more. After all, we're not making a fruit salad, we're making a drink! There's no need to put three different kinds of berries in there. When it comes to choosing a wine for a summery sangria, many people believe that any cheap red will do, but before you head to absolute bottom shelf, remember that the recipe may be able to mask a cheap wine's texture and flavour, but the quality is still swilling around the jug! Choose a wine with a bit of integrity (and taste) to complement the other flavours and make your sangria the best sangria it can be. 

Speaking of which... 

SANGRIA THAT DOESN'T SUCK

  • 1 bottle of Tempranillo. We use the cheap(ish)-and-cheerful ¡Poco a Poco! Tempranillo for a tasty fruity base.
  • 500ml lemonade
  • 250ml smooth orange juice
  • 100ml Cointreau. (The Cointreau is optional but highly recommended! And if you like your sangria a bit on the boozy side, as Caro does, add a bit more to taste.) 

Mix all the ingredients together in a jug (the more summery the better!), add some ice (ice balls, anyone?!) and garnish with slices of blood orange and a few sprigs of mint. Pair with good company and delicious snacks and E N J O Y !