Yoknapatawpha Crossing

Sangria

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I’ve spent too much time talking about how awesome Macs are recently, so this post is intended to return the discourse to another subject near and dear to my heart, alcohol. Specifically, sangria.

Sangria is a drink that comes from Spain originally. It’s like fruit punch, but with booze. I make it pretty often, and people seem to think it generally tastes okay, so I’m gonna go over the recipe I use. It’ll be fun.

First, these are the things that go in sangria and some preliminary rambling about them: wine, fruit, sugar, orange liqueur. That’s it, actually.

There’s more wine than anything else in sangria, and usually it’s red. Sangria made with white wine is called sangria blanco, and you need to put different things in it. Don’t fiddle with that shit. Red wine is the way to go. You don’t need to get amazing red wine; you’re going to dump a bunch of sugar and fruit juice in with it, so if it doesn’t taste perfect you’ll probably never notice. You probably want to shoot for something fruity rather than dry. I’ve used Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Merlot, Merlot, and I think some other things to good effect. Something like Shiraz or Chianti is probably not the sangria wine you’re looking for. Actually, Chianti might work pretty well. I should try that. Yellow Tail is great for sangria.

On to fruit. As with everything in life, fresh is always better. However, I have found (through countless hours, selflessly spent, of experimentation) that using bottled orange juice and lemon juice in lieu of freshly squeezed tends to not make a huge difference in the quality of the sangria. On the other hand, you absolutely should use fresh fruit to make fruit slices to put in the sangria.

Some chefs, such as Emeril Lagasse, recommend the use of a top-shelf liqueur such as Grand Marnier to flavor your sangria. Mr. Lagasse may be an outstanding chef, but he is a piss-poor drunkard, and I assure you that the subtle and delightful features of Grand Marnier or Cointreau (which presumably justify their top shelf price) will be completely drowned in a sea of wine and fruit juice if they are used in sangria. All you care about is giving the concoction a little orange-flavored kick, and for that a seven-dollar bottle of triple sec is your best option.

You also need to make sure you get a big pot or pitcher; you’ll end up with about 2.5 L of sangria if you follow the instructions. And that’s it for introductory rambling. Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 L red wine
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 c orange liqueur
  • 1 apple (Granny Smith is good)
  • 2 oranges; one for juice, one for slices
  • 2 lemons; one for juice, one for slices
  • 2 limes; juice and slices

Procedure:

  1. Put the water in a pot, and put it over medium-low heat on a stove. Let it heat up a bit, then stir in the sugar. Heating the water simply ensures that all the sugar dissolves easily. Once the sugar is all dissolved, dump this in your big pitcher.
  2. Cut the apple into chunks, the lemon and orange into thin slices. Dump them into your big pitcher.
  3. Pour some lemon and orange juice into your big pitcher. If you’re doing the freshly squeezed kind, you probably want the juice from one lemon and one orange. If you’re using prepackaged, you probably want a bit more than that. Guesstimate.
  4. Dump the wine and liqueur into your big pitcher as well.
  5. Stir.
  6. Let it sit for a while, preferably overnight. I’m no chemist, but my college roommate was, and he assures me that during the time the sangria sits, magic happens to make it taste better.
  7. Drink.

That’s all there is to making sangria. Give it a shot; don’t even worry about sticking to the recipe. Sangria is very flexible. In the words of Cole Porter, quoted here from Box, Hunter, and Hunter,

Experiment.
Make it your motto day and night.
Experiment
And it will lead you to the light.
The apple on the top of the tree
Is never too high to achieve,
So take an example from Eve,
Experiment.

I think it is the funniest thing in the world that Box, Hunter, and Hunter use that quote to preface their textbook on statistics and experimental design.

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Written by Daniel Grady

August 31, 2006 at 02:41

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