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Jun 3, 2002 09:52 AM

Good, Authentic Sangria?

  • p

I've found a wonderful new seafood shop. It's a real hole in the wall owned by two elderly Portuguese gentlemen. Beautiful shellfish. They also have a refrigerator full of fresh, home-made chorizo. So I dug out my old Paella pan from the garage, and I'm inviting everyone over for Fathers Day.

I'm gonna start with olives, salted almonds, and a brandade on crackers. I thought I'd also grill up some chicken leg quarters, marinaded in evo, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh oregano. Saw a recipe for a great salad with watercress, endive and orange sections. For dessert, flan and an assortment of Spanish cheeses (blue, manchengo, etc.).

So, I was thinking, is Sangria a real option? Do the Spanish really drink Sangria? I guess I've always looked down my nose at it. Perhaps my experiences have always been based on poor executions. Does anyone have a real recipe?

Thanks for all your help (again)!


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  1. Sangria will go very well with the paella, tapas, and the blue cabrales and manchego cheeses. If you can find membrillo (quince paste), serve slices of it on top of the manchego and alongside dried apricots, grapes, and some figs. The fruit, cheese, and membrillo go so well together - it's my usual "dessert" at a favorite haunt in Boston, Dalí.

    As for a sangria recipe, Mario Iriarte, owner of Dali, did an interview in the Boston Globe last summer. The recipe that was given was "adapted" from Dalí's recipe, but having had it so often, I came up with what I think is a very good copy of it. I've made it several times for gatherings, and I never seem to make enough.

    I've also included a few notes that Mario said in the article.

    Dalí's Sangria

    Serves 10

    2 bottles Spanish rioja wine
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup brandy
    1 oz Triple Sec
    1 literclub soda -- or less
    2 cups orange juice
    2 oranges -- cut into eighths and each eighth cut in half

    Make this in a big container and mix well to dissolve the sugar. You can refrigerate it probably up to a week, pouring over ice to serve. Dalí's bartenders usually tops the small and large pitchers off with another good-sized sploosh of red wine.

    From 8/1/01 Boston Globe article on sangria...

    The red wine sangria served at Dalí begins with an inexpensive dry red Spanish table wine, Vina Borgia, which is mixed with regular Spanish brandy and an orange brandy. Iriarte says that he uses Spanish ingredients "because we want the soul of it be Spanish."

    The fruit and brandy are combined with sugar and orange juice and allowed to sit for at the least 24 hours for the flavors to mellow. "It's important to let it stand," Iriarte says.

    His sangria has a fuller, sweeter flavor than red wine sangrias made without the orange brandy. And lacking citrus fruits, the drink is less tart than other variations. The intense sweetness is lightened with a splash of sparkling water, which should be added after the sangria has been poured over ice, immediately before serving. "To bring alive the dormant juices," according to Iriarte.

    A few lessons learned during testing: when making the red wine sangria, use a bottle of red wine (as Dalí's Iriarte does) but if the mixture seems excessively sweet, add another half bottle or so, and let it rest another 24 hours.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Linda W.

      We have made the Dali sangria recipe you posted several times (tweaking here and there after the original batch) and have been disappointed with the results. Maybe the "regular Spanish Brandy" needs to be a particular brand?

      1. re: Jane
        Jersey City Mods

        Fundador is a good "won't break the bank" brand to use in Sangria. It really does make a difference because I used to use that generic Christian Brothers stuff thinking it wouldn't make much of a difference with all those ingredients.

        1. re: Jersey City Mods

          Have not heard of this brand, but will give it a try.

    2. d
      David De Silva

      Sounds like a great meal! Sangria is indeed an authentic Spanish/Latino drink and should not be looked down upon. Yes, I don't tend to go in for overly sweet wine but Sangria is an exception!

      Here is a very simple, yet delicious recipe, with some variations, taken from both my Cuban mother-in-law as well as from Steven Raichlen's Miami Spice cookbook.

      1 bottle dry red wine (I use a cheap Rioja and it works very well)
      1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
      4 cinnamon sticks
      1 cup orange juice
      1 orange, lemon, mango, 2 star fruits, thinly sliced
      16 ounces club soda or 7up (I use the 7up)

      Variations include using 5 Alive fruit juice in place of OJ, adding other fruit like apples, etc.
      This recipe can very easily be doubled

      Combine and let macerate for 30-60 minutes before serving. Sangria will NOT last for a week in the fridge, it won't taste very good at that point. But, a day or two after serving (always serve fresh) and it will still be OK.

      1 Reply
      1. re: David De Silva

        "Sangria will NOT last for a week in the fridge, it won't taste very good at that point. But, a day or two after serving (always serve fresh) and it will still be OK."

        I agree - it wouldn't last a week in my fridge as it would be gone long before then. :-) I just was quoting the article from the Globe (who have been known to be wrong before!).

        But 24 hours after making it, and topped off with a bit more rioja and the club soda just before serving, and it'll be just fine!

      2. Way too much club soda in the recipe posted by Linda.

        I lived in Spain for quite a while and observed many bar tenders I respect making sangria:

        1 bottle dry red wine.
        1/2 cup to 1 cup orange juice
        1/2 cup apple juice
        Lots of cut up fruit I am partial to oranges, apples, peaches, nectarines
        1/2 cup brandy
        1/4 cup gin
        sugar to taste probably 1/4 cup or so

        No spices or cinnamon.

        1 cup or so of something fizzy: 7up, club soda, etc. I consider this optional and not all Spanish bar tenders add this

        3 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy
          Tha Groovin' Gourmet

          Looks like a pretty good take.

          I think sangria is like gumbo.

          No definitive recipe, just guidelines and to each
          his or her own.

          1. re: Tha Groovin' Gourmet

            Agreed though I think that adding carbonated beverages of any kind is really an american phenomena. In Spain you just don't see that very often. To my mind adding soda really turns it into more of a soft drink...

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Not so... lots of people here add a little "la casera" or "gaseosa" or even Fanta limon right before serving...

              I think the one procedure that nearly everyone follows here in Spain that seems to get lost in translation is that the fruit is soaked (macerated) in brandy and sugar for a good long while before the sangria is made. This improves the flavor significantly.