What is Sangria?

 Anyone else read this headline and suddenly start craving tapas? Is that just an us thing because we're always hungry? Actually, rhetorical question. Please don't answer that. 

Let's dive into more about Sangria, the fruity wine-based beverage that hails from Spain! 

What Actually is a Sangria? 

Like jungle juice, Sangria is a drink that allows you to make it the way you like it. Unlike jungle juice, you're probably not going to find it at a fraternity. Plus, it's delicious, and you don't have to fear what's inside of it. 

A mixed alcoholic beverage from Spain and Portugal, the color of sangria changes based on the kind of wine you use. When you're making Sangria, the goal is to create a drink with all your favorite flavors, so there are no hard and fast rules for what you can or cannot put in your Sangria.

Yes, the traditional Sangria calls for red wine, but today, we're making all sorts of Sangria variations with red, white, and even rose wine! In addition to wine, traditional sangria recipes include fruit juices like orange juice, sweeteners like agave nectar or simple syrup, sparkling water or soda water, fresh fruit slices, and flavored liquor like Triple Sec, Cointreau, or brandy.  

How do Different Wines Affect the Taste of a Sangria?

Whether it’s summer or winter, it can always be sangria time. If you took Spanish or are a native Spanish speaker, you might have noticed that "Sangria" is Spanish for "blood." While not precisely appetizing, we know, the name refers to the drink's traditional red wine base. So, if you're going for a really, really classic Sangria, use a Spanish red wine like Rioja or Tempranillo. 

But again, remember that all is fair in love and war and Sangria! There are no right or wrong ways to make a delicious drink, and because of that, you can tailor the drink to your preferences. Although red wine was the traditional base, you can try hundreds of different variations with varying types of wine. As you can imagine, different wine types will result in different Sangria flavors because, well, wines taste different. Here are a couple of pointers we've learned while experimenting to find the best Sangria. 

Are you craving a white wine-based Sangria? The best wine for you is probably a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, and these are delicious with cucumber and lemon. Plus, if you use Bev Gris or Bev Blanc, you're cutting down on many calories and sugar because Bev has zero sugar. Have we mentioned that enough yet? 

For a citrusy tang, rosé sangria is delicious with peaches, nectarines, and melon. We highly suggest Bev rosé for a little fizzy fun!  

Regardless of the type of Sangria you make, many self-proclaimed Sangria experts, like ourselves, think you should let your large pitcher sit for several hours before you serve the concoction? Why? This gives the fruits you have added to your drink time to soak up all of the alcohol to get you the perfect sangria before you pour it into your wine glasses. 

What if I Don't Like Sweet Drinks? Aren't Sangrias Notoriously Sweet? 

Well, good thing we created Bev, right? Remember, Sangria is as sweet as you want it to be. The goal of Sangria is to make a drink around flavors that you love to enjoy! So if you want it to be fruity, go with a bottle of red wine. If you want it to be fruity but not THAT fruity, go with a dry red wine so you can keep the sugar down. Make the recipe to satisfy your perfect amount of sweetness. 

What can you add to a Sangria?

Whatever your heart desires! The idea is to create a drink around the flavors you love the most. Most people suggest pairing two types of your favorite fruits: a citrus one and a noncitrus one.  

According to experts, Sangria only needs five things: wine, liqueur, sweetener, something bubbly, and fruit. Of course, you can combine your bubbly with wine with sparkling wine (hint hint: Bev)  

If you're curious about adding alcohol to your Sangria, know there are reasons to add it to Sangria beyond trying to increase its alcohol content. (Although for some, that might be a primary reason!) Some add flavored liquors to their Sangria mixes to boost flavor without making their drink too strong. If you're into this idea, add liqueur— like orange liqueur or a cup brandy. (For a delicious recipe that adds a kick of bourbon, see below!)  

Adding sweetener to Sangria is also a personal choice. Some claim that sweetener helps balance everything out. As mentioned, you can also use flavored liquors for this step or, to cut down on sugar, you can use honey, stevia, or agave.  

Here are a few of our Favorite Recipes! 

White Wine Sangria 

Sugar and Cloth take the traditional summer drink to Fall with an Autumn Fig Sangria recipe that is delightful! It brings an autumn taste and flavor to Sangria by relying on autumn fruit and spice that create warming yet crisp flavor. You can't go wrong with adding a cinnamon stick or two, and make sure you refrigerate it to get the most developed flavors. If you're hoping to cut down on some sugar, be sure to use Bev Blanc in her recipe!  

Rose Sangria 

For all of our rose lovers, make sure you check out Iowa Girl Eat's Secret Ingredient rosé Sangria. Her Sangria includes a very special ingredient that takes the drink to the next level: bourbon! Make sure you jazz up the recipe with whatever fruit you feel like because it is sure to be delicious! 

Red Wine Sangria 

Ah, so you're a traditionalist, we see! Here are some delicious red sangria recipes you HAVE to try! 

Get a taste of summer with Inspired Taste's easy Sangria. Sweetened with your choice of brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup, you and whoever else you share your Sangria with will be beyond pleased!  

Even though Gimme Some Oven broke our hearts by revealing that drinking Sangria in Spain is just a touristy thing to do, we were able to forgive and forget after one sip of her authentic Spanish Sangria. With a little bit of brandy, red wine, and a lot of delicious diced fruit, you'll be transported to Spain after one sip.