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Sangria: One Bloody Punch!!
by Marjorie Dorfman

What exactly is sangria and why is it so named? Why are there so many different ways to make it and who were the first people to enjoy this popular drink? When did Americans discover this refreshing summer libation? The answer to these and other questions lies below. So take a sip, savor, lean back and enjoy.

The word sangria is Spanish, derived from sangre, meaning blood (sangue in Portuguese). Steeped in hundreds of years of humble Spanish tradition, this red wine punch was originally made with Rioja and other indigenous red wines, but is today often created with a claret base (a hearty French Bordeaux wine), with fruit added for extra flavor. Claret Cup Punch was a popular drink at festivities in the 1700s and 1800s (and is also mentioned in some old movies if you listen very closely).

Most Americans were introduced to this drink at the 1964 World’s Fair where it was featured in "The Spanish World" Pavilion. The preparation and ingredients differ greatly and so does the alcoholic content. White wine can be substituted for red in which case the result is sangria blanco. In parts of southern Spain, the drink is sometimes made with peaches and nectarines and is called zurra.

Usually, fruit is cut into thin slices or small cubes and all the ingredients are mixed in advance except for ice and carbonated sodas (gaseosa), which are added as the drink is poured. It takes several hours chilled in the refrigerator for all of the fruit flavors to blend with all of the other ingredients and the more time they have to do so, the better the taste. Sangria is usually served throughout Spain during the summer and all year round in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

In the United Kingdom, the attractions of Spain are often referred to as: "sun, sea, sex and sangria." The Spanish themselves usually do not order the drink from pubs and restaurants, although it is a popular selection among tourists who visit both Spain and Mexico. In such a public setting, a 1-litre pitcher large enough to hold all the ingredients with a wooden spoon to retrieve the fruit from the bottom of the bowl or container is served on a table. It is a very popular libation at informal gatherings.

It can also be bought bottled in some countries under the European Union label of "aromatized wines," but there is little fun in that. The real entertainment comes from making it yourself from scratch, using your favorite red wine and your favorite fruits and throwing them all together. Every restaurant has its own particular recipe, which is usually a blend of wine, brandy and fresh fruits served over ice.

The beauty of sangria is that it is your own creation and it can be whatever you want it to be! It is as delicious as it is easy and can be made to suit even the fussiest of palates. So what are YOU waiting for? Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. Go out and get the ingredients to make some sangria today! Ole! (That rhymes.)

Here are two special and very different sangria recipes to try.

Stacey's Sangria Recipe

1 large bottle Gallo hearty Burgundy
Red Hawaiian Punch
1 lemon, cut up
1 orange, cut up
1 small bag cinnamon red hots
1 small bottle club soda

Mix all together and refrigerate overnight. When serving, pour over ice and add fresh fruit.

Grand Marnier Sangria

1 bottle Woodbridge Cabernet
4 shots Grand Marnier
6 cherries, sliced
2 oranges, segmented
1 lemon, quartered
1 lime, quartered

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