The Recipe and Origins of Sangria
The origins of this seasonal beverage can be as misty as the drink itself when the fruit wedges and floating spices are stirred by an appropriate length spoon.
It has been argued amongst some English-speaking communities that the drink originated somewhere in the British Bahamas, but outside this colonial frame of mind it is considered that Sangria first appeared from the middle of the 19th century during the massive emigration from Iberia to Argentina - where the drink still enjoys a popularity today. In Argentina, the new immigrants were thought to have introduced the cooler and diluted version of a glass of wine to help cope with the long hot summers and the warmer climate.
On the mainland of Spain, Sangria is served everywhere during the summer, and throughout the whole year in the warmer southern provinces. In Spanish, sangre means blood and it is from this description the name derives. A version called 'Sangria a cava' exits in Catalonia which uses a white wine instead of a red - but typically, Sangria is made with red wine, using fresh, seasonal fruit and some fizzy water. Like all the best recipes, the ingredients derive from the left-overs of other meals and it is often the use of wines from the day before - or of the cheaper sort - that end up in a Sangria recipe.
Pour the wine into a pitcher. Add the squeezed lemon juice. Once the remaining fruit has been cut, add it to the mixture and leave it to stand for a few hours. A word of caution: Do not wait until the end to add the fruit, for it will then be purely ornamental. It is also not recommended to add the fizzy water until the moment of serving; otherwise, it will go flat before drinking.
Don't be surprised if occasionally you are served an extra strong version; some establishments serve a variety of Sangria with vermouth or other spirits.
Sangria: Serving Suggestions
Serve in a transparent jug, with plenty of ice and a large spoon to stir or fish out the particularly tasty bits of fruit.
Finally, hang a twist of orange peel over the side for presentation. Take the pitcher, a tall tumbler and a four-legged friend outside under the shade of a tree and sip this refreshing summer-time drink, whilst tossing a stick, occasionally, in the direction of a bored Hound.
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