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Published November 27th 2011
Want to capture all the colour, freshness, tang and fizz of a Spanish summer in a tall, chilled glass? Then Sangria, a traditional Spanish refreshment, is the drink for you - just perfect for long, hot summer days and nights.
It's easy to create your own slice of Spain at home. With only a few ingredients, a simple method and plenty of opportunities for ad-libbing creativity Sangria is the perfect way to begin your new career as a master mixologist, or at the very least to impress all the guests at your next barbecue or pool party.
I'm one of those cooks who never measures anything (probably the reason why I can't make a successful sponge cake). My favoured cooking method is "splash it and see" so for me Sangria's real beauty lies not just in its fruity freshness, but also in the fact that apart from a few basic rules it can be whatever you want it to be. Traditionally Sangria is made with red wine and citrus fruit, but white wine or the addition of berries or stone fruit adds a whole new taste twist. Below is a flavour base and method that will make about 1.5 litres of liquid summer.
4 cups red wine of your choice juice of 1 large orange and 1 large lemon (or substitute 3/4 cup each of bottled juice) 1 lemon finely sliced 1 orange finely sliced 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey 1 cup soda water
Method Combine all ingredients except soda water in a large jug or punch bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Add soda water before serving and serve in chilled glasses for best effect.
While variations don't satisfy the purists you'll have fun experimenting with this basic recipe - tang it up with spices or ginger, add more fruity flavour or some alcoholic interest with brandy, Frangelico or Chambord. Garnish with edible flowers such as citrus blossoms or rose petals for perfect presentation. While you're only limited by your imagination here are some of my favourite twists to get you started.
Use your favourite white wine instead of red and stick to pale coloured fruits - lemons, grapefruits, white-fleshed nectarines and peaches, and lychees. Throw in a few raspberries or red grapes if you prefer a spot of colour.
Use white or red wine for this berry delicious version, substitute pomegranate or cranberry juice for the citrus juice, and add raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, and red apples.
Use white wine, apple juice and green fruits such as apples, green grapes and limes, and garnish with mint leaves. Add green soft drink instead of soda water for a real green burst.
Stone Cold Sober
Use non-alcoholic wine substitute (white or red) and stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries.
Use white wine, pineapple juice, white rum, sliced pineapples and mangoes for a very Queensland approach to Sangria.
While these recipes should keep you going for a while if you come up with a great variation of your own please share it with us here at Weekend Notes.