Pass the Sangria

Sangria, the drink that has come to be synonymous with Spanish wine and fun, has long been misunderstood.  To associate sangria with Spanish wine is comparable to saying the Greeks only drink ouzo or the French pastis.  There are many drinks that the Spanish imbibe - tinto de verano, vermut, orujo, pacharan, gin tonic - to name just a few.  The most common drink beloved by the Spanish is a caña, or a four-ounce beer, served in a small glass, ice cold from the keg, and consumed rapidly, almost like a shot. 

Most Spaniards consume sangria during the summer and only in certain parts of Spain.   Otherwise, the drink of choice is a red or white wine, whatever the region has to offer.  Due to its popularity, sangria can now be found on most Spanish drink menus.

Sangria is versatile because it is a red wine that acts like a cold white, satisfying both desires.  Each family will proudly defend their recipe as the best.   It is traditionally made with jug or house wine, with a little sugar or Spanish soda, perhaps some cinnamon or other spices added.  It is often too sweet a match for good food, and is the source of many a hangover with its deliberate sweetness.  

Nowadays there are fruit flavored and white sangrias - an inevitable evolution due to the demand.  But you can't argue taste...right?


128 oz. pitcher, 1.5 liters garnacha, 1 bottle cava, 1 cup Spanish brandy, 2 oz triple sec or 1 can of KAS orange soda, 2 diced apples and pears (optional - pinch of nutmeg, 2 cinnamon sticks)

Add ingredients to pitcher.  Stir well.  Cover and rest in refrigerator for four hours or overnight.  Serve with ice.