Sangria is a beverage, common in Spain and Portugal. It normally consists of red wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of brandy. Chopped fruit can include orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grape, kiwifruit and mango. A sweetener such as honey, sugar, syrup, or orange juice is added. Instead of brandy, other liquids such as Seltzer or lemonade may be added. Sangria is steeped while chilled for as little as minutes or up to a few days.
The use of the word sangria in labels is now restricted using tougher geographical labeling rules enforced by European law. Only sangria made in Spain and Portugal was allowed to be sold under that name after the European Parliament green-lighted new wine labeling in January 2014.
Sangria is named after the Spanish and Portuguese word for "blood" because of its typical dark-red color. The name is pronounced /saŋˈɡriːə/ in English, [saŋˈɡɾi.a] in Spanish and [sɐ̃ˈɡɾi.a] in Portuguese.
Sangria has existed in various forms for over 2,000 years. It is believed the Romans began a practise of mixing wine with water in order to sanitise the drinking water of their expanding empire as it reached the Iberian Peninsula, where Spain and Portugal now are. By the early 18th century, Sangria had spread to Latin America. It did not become a widely consumed drink in the United States of America until it was showcased at the 1964 World's fair in New York. This is despite sangria being a common drink served in the United Kingdom, where it was known a Claret Cup Punch, since the time of Jane Austen. Sangria was introduced to NYC by Lorenzo Granados at his eponymous Greenwich Village restaurant in 1951.
Because of the variation in recipes, sangria's alcoholic content can vary greatly, usually from 4 percent up to about 11 percent. The ingredients in sangria vary, particularly in the type of fruit used, the kind of spirits added (if any), and the presence or lack of carbonation.
- White wine can be used instead of red, in which case the result is called sangria blanca or, as in Argentina and Paraguay, clerico. Some recipes that use heavier reds can be lightened by mixing a bottle of white in the mix. In some parts of Southern Spain, sangria is called zurra and is made with peaches or nectarines. In most recipes, wine is the dominant ingredient and acts as a base. In some regions of Portugal, cinnamon and medronho brandy are used.
- Mulled wine can be used to provide a rich full-bodied taste, chilled with orange juice, lemonade and a sliced pear to add sweetness.
- Preparation consists of cutting the fruit in thin slices or small cubes, then mixing in advance all ingredients except for ice and carbonated sodas. After several hours, or a full day in a refrigerator to allow time for the fruit flavors to blend with the rest of the ingredients, the ice and any last-minute ingredients are added and the drinks are poured.
- A non-alcoholic version of sangria is made from wine grapes, carbonated water, essence of lemon, and cane sugar.
- Sangaree (drink) is a similar drink associated with the West Indies and the name sangaree is an archaic English name for sangria itself.
Sangria is served throughout Spain and Portugal during summer, and in the southern and eastern parts of the countries year-round. In these places it is a popular drink among tourists at bars, pubs and restaurants where it is often served in 1-litre pitchers or other containers large enough to hold a bottle of wine plus the added ingredients. A lid or other strainer for the container helps prevent the fruit and ice cubes from falling into the glass. Among the Spanish and Portuguese, sangria is most typically served at informal social gatherings, much like punch, from a punchbowl. Sangria is often served with a wooden spoon, used to get fruit out of the bottom of the punchbowl or pitcher. Sangria is also commonly served in Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Chile, and Argentina.
Bottled sangria can be bought in some countries. In the parlance of EU administrators, such products are referred to as "aromatised wines".
Sangria has become popular in the UK and the U.S., with many supermarkets stocking it during summer months. Sangría Señorial, a sangria-flavored non-alcoholic soft drink distributed by Tipp under the Jarritos family, has become popular in the United States.
Laws protecting true sangria
The European Parliament put this geographical labeling law into effect due to an increase in claims of drinks being genuine sangria, including many sweet red wines blended with fruits. Originally, the law was put in place to protect aromatized drinks, and sangria falls into that category. The law also protects Vermouth and Gluehwein aromatized wines — in a 609-72 plenary vote with four abstentions.
European Union sangria definition
The definition of sangria under European Union law from a 1991 Council Regulation states:
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.