Sangria is a classic wine cocktail that is fruity, festive and fun. It is usually made from a combination of red or white wine, fruit juice, sliced or muddled fruit and sugar. There are hundreds of recipes for this cocktail, some of which call for added brandy or other liqueur and/or added sparkling water.
The origins of sangria date back over 2,000 years ago when the Romans traveled through the Iberian Peninsula and planted vineyards along the way. Water was not always safe for consumption, so it was commonplace to add alcohol to water in order to kill off any bacteria. The name sangria is believed to be derived from the word sangre or blood referring to the deep dark color of the wine that was blended with water, fruit, herbs and spices. Sangria was first introduced to the Americas in the 1800s, but it gained its notoriety when it was served in the Spanish pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
The term sangria received a legal definition in the European Union in 1991 as:
“a drink obtained from wine, aromatized with the addition of natural citrus-fruit extracts or essences, with or without the juice of such fruit and with the possible addition of spices, sweetened and with CO2 added, having an acquired alcoholic strength by volume of less than 12 % vol. The drink may contain solid particles of citrus-fruit pulp or peel and its colour must come exclusively from the raw materials used. The description ‘Sangria’ must be accompanied by the words ‘produced in . . .’ followed by the name of the Member State of production or of a more restricted region except where the product is produced in Spain or Portugal. The description ‘Sangria’ may replace the description ‘aromatized wine-based drink’ only where the drink is manufactured in Spain or Portugal.”
In the United States, the term sangria is not a restricted term. At City Vino, we are featuring the De La Costa Sangria from the Glunz Family Winery in Paso Robles, California. The sangria is pre-made and bottled for your convenience (no fruit slicing required). At 11% alcohol, the wine is light and refreshing with flavors of cherry and fresh berries with a dash of citrus for that extra zing. Serve well chilled.