The Summertime Appeal Of Refreshing Sangria: Served “Under Nature’s Canopy”

Colorful, Fruity Delight:  Sangria
Colorful, Fruity Delight: Sangria

Sangria. Beckoning us within the sultry days of Summer: chilled and refreshing Sangria. In simple terms, it is a “Wine fruit punch”. But in terms of its pleasures, it a Summertime “Punch” of distinction. Personalized. Originating from the Mediterranean region as a refreshing Summer drink, perhaps it is no surprise that Sangria is said to be one of the most popular drinks in the world. For certain, the bounty of Summer’s fruits soaked in red wine and served chilled is the essence of Summer itself

The punch base of Sangria is often a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Of course, an authentic Spanish flavor is offered by using Spanish red wines, such as Rioja. Yet whatever the varietal or combination thereof that one selects, the fruit that is chosen to soak within the sweet fruit of nature’s delight is certainly personal choice. Possibilities abound. The addition of fruit juices, sparkling soda water and brandy or cognac provide additional flavors of delight. Individualistic bliss. Of course, aside from the deep red allure there is “White Sangria”, known as “Sangria Blanco”, which originated in the Cava producing area of Spain. A sparkling white version of bliss. In addition, in the south of Spain, Sangria is infused with peaches and nectarines and is referred to as “Zurra”. Variations abound, indeed.

Sangria:  Summer's Refreshing "Punch"
Sangria: Summer’s Refreshing “Punch”

But of the history of Sangria? Alas, to appreciate the origin of this fruited concoction, one must look back to the ancient vineyards of Spain that spread across the Iberian Peninsula. History states that the Romans, upon conquering Spain in 200 BC planted the vineyards of the red grape varietals on Spanish soil that would lead to the creation of Sangria. Who knew? In fact, it was the Rioja region of Spain that is considered to be the place where Sangria was born. The success of the growth of red grapes resulted in the bounty of wines of Spain that would begin a shipping trade to meet the demands of Rome’s new fascination with this drink of refreshment. Of interest, the root word in the word Sangria is “Sangre” which is Spanish for blood and a reference to the deep red color. A drink that conquered in its worldwide appeal, for certain.

Variations Of Delight: "Sangria"
Variations Of Delight: “Sangria”

History moving onward, between the mid 1700’s and early 1800’s Britain created their own versions of Sangria that were called “Sangre” and “Sangaree”, which were usually a mix of port, sherry or Madeira (a fortified Portuguese wine) mixed with sugar water and nutmeg. Often, the base would include ale. Again, variations. The British Gentleman‘s Magazine in 1736 stated “…a punch seller in the Strand had devised a new punch made of strong Madeira wine and called Sangre”. Interesting. By 1785, the exotic drink was considered more of a punch wine associated with the Antilles Islands and Spain. Of additional historical interest, the Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tounge, published in 1785 defined “Sangaree” as a “Rack Punch” as called within the “Bagnios”. A “Bagnios” was a brothel and the “rack” punch is said to have referred to the first 5 elements in a classic punch: “Arrack”, citrus, fruits, spices, cane sugar and water”. Again, interesting. As for the “Arrack”, it was not the anise flavored Middle Eastern spirit but rather, with lineage to rum, “Batavia Arrack” from the Antilles. Rum! In this regard, this concoction was considered a single serving punch. And on American soil? History states that this fruity wine punch was first served in the United States at the “Spanish World” at the 1964 World’s Trade Fair in New York. What resulted was the demand for a quenched delight with fruited pleasure. Sangria would soon be imported under the label “Yago Sant’gria”.

In time, Americans would begin to create their own versions of this chilled refreshment of red wine, fruit, citrus and sugar. A fortified fruit punch of chilled perfection. And of the bulbulous pitcher that the ingredients of Sangria that lingers within and awaits our glasses? These traditional pitchers have a pinched lip so that the fruit is reserved in the glass, minimizing the “Splash” caused by the ice cubes or fruit. A perfect solution. There is always the laddle that allows you to select a deep layer of fruit soaked with Sangria to fill within your glass. That said, perhaps there is no right or wrong way to serve this sweetened delight of nature and “punch”. The mere idea is to gather and serve it…adding to Summertime delight. And gather, we did…

"Sangria at Sunset"

My appreciation of the drink itself has brought forth our new tradition…an annual Sangria party. Our 2nd annual late Summer event “Under Nature’s Canopy” was met with delightful weather and soft breezes and a full August moon to top it off. Summertime perfection. Paired with a bevy of delights and various concoctions of Sangria bliss, the evening was one of laughter, music and boisterous colors. Explosions of tastes and delights, indeed….

Vivid Colors & Distinctive Tastes:  Our "Sangria At Sunset"
Vivid Colors & Distinctive Tastes: Our “Sangria At Sunset”
"Sangria After Sunset"....A Glowing Affair Under Nature's Canopy...
“Sangria After Sunset”….A Glowing Affair Under Nature’s Canopy…

Consider the delicious, pleasurable concoction embellished with your preference of fresh fruits, wine and “punch”. The beauty of Sangria is perhaps the possibilities that it allows. Glass filled with your preferences of fresh fruits and the wine variations of personal choice to taste, this delicious Summertime beverage will certainly lend an exotic flair to your hot Summer days and nights. Oh, the juices from the fruits that blend with the wine! A flavorful treat, served over ice, that soothes the Summer heat and refreshes with pleasurable tastes. Summertime appeal served “Under Nature’s Canopy” indeed…

Kristin

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2 thoughts on “The Summertime Appeal Of Refreshing Sangria: Served “Under Nature’s Canopy”

    1. “Magic” is quite a compliment, Arlene! Delighted you were are part. And…yes, Nilsa was behind the lens after the sun disappeared… our budding photographer following her inspirations! Cheers to the final days of Summer, friendship and “Magic” under nature’s canopy with glasses filled with Sangria!
      Kristin

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