I drink wine year around. As a rule I prefer red to white any day but depending on the meal a rich red or a crisp white is the perfect accompaniment to food. During the cooler months a warm and spicy gluhwein hits the spot. Gluhwein, or mulled wine, is a staple at Christmas markets throughout Europe and as I’ve discovered, each county–or region for that matter–puts their own twist on this winter staple. Some may be spicier and others may be sweeter. Regardless of the ingredients, each cup is sure to please. However, hot wine doesn’t excite me during the summer months. Hot weather calls for something lighter and cooler so for this wine drinker, that means sangria. As my recent trip to Spain showed me, there are just as many varieties of sangria as there are gluhwein. Within the greater Madrid area alone I sampled sangria that was sweet or spicy or sometimes both. And this was just the versions made with red wine.
I’ve long had a favorite sangria recipe. My red wine version includes oranges, lemons, and limes making for a citrus filled and refreshing drink. (Be on the lookout for my white wine version later this summer!) This recipe calls for a single liter of red wine but the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or more depending upon the size of your crowd. Any dry red wine works for this recipe. If you like it, use it. For larger quantities I used to use Trader Joe’s infamous “Two Buck Chuck” since it was drinkable without being too expensive. (Save your really good wine for drinking as is). Back in our Norfolk, Virginia days I would mix up a cooler full of sangria for our annual Belvedere block party. As the summer wore on I’d make up the same amount to enjoy during our long lazy weekends on our boat. Regardless of the quantity you make, the longer it sits the stronger it becomes. You can easily dilute it by adding more juice or ice. However you make it or where ever you drink it, it is sure to refresh. To me, sangria is the ultimate summer drink.
RED WINE SANGRIA
1 liter dry red wine
1/4 cup (or more) white sugar, depending on taste
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
Thoroughly scrub the rinds of the fruit to remove any waxes. Thinly slice the fruit taking care to remove any seeds.
Place the fruit in a large pitcher. Add the sugar and using a wooden spoon, muddle to combine the sugar and fruit.
Pour the wine, juice, and liqueur over the fruit; stir to combine.
Let the sangria sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Before serving, add ice to the pitcher.