Extract of the article by Nikhil Agarwal in Sunday-Midday | Sangria Story
1) Share the history of sangria. Classically, what were the ingredients used? Any back story of how it became popular?
The Romans planted vines in Spain for making wine. Red wine was used to make Sangria originally along with fruits, spices and brandy. Two probable reasons it became popular, at that time water was not safe to drink and wine was drunk since it had alcohol in it to keep diseases at bay. This way of drinking wine was cooling and refreshing and became popular in the hot Spanish summers. Tourist coming into Spain or Portugal for that matter flocked to drink Sangrias and took the concept back to their own countries where they became quickly popular as well.
2) What is the process of making sangria? Please answer in detail, how the fruits are fermented any particular sizes?
To start with, put together a good red or white wine, fresh fruits depending on what sangria recipe your following, fruit juice and brandy for making a good Sangria. The better the ingredients the better the sangria. I’m not saying buy an expensive bottle of wine, just a wine that you would not mind drinking on its own. Also keep the mix together in a bowl or jar for sometime to allow the flavors of all the ingredients to come together. Keep in a fridge to make it cool. Use sugar or simple syrup, or juice concentrate ( from Monin for example) as per desired sweetness or flavour. Try sparkling wine to top of the mix in the glass to give it a little zest if you like.
3) What wine goes best with what fruits-ingredients?
Wines like Chenin Blanc, Riesling or Viognier that have either very tropical fruit or floral notes go with the fruits used to make Sangria. In reds try medium bodied wines from grape varieties like Merlot and of course Tempranillo. Don’t use wines with too much oak or any oak at all.
4) Can you tell me a little about the red and white wines which are favorable for making sangria? You mentioned brandies too right?
Some people believe that the quality of wine is not important as so many other ingredients are used. But for a good tasting Sangria one must use a wine that tastes good on its own. Fruitier styled wines whether red or white work well.
5) What type of food is enjoyed with sangria?
Sangria is not a serious drink for food pairing. Enjoy it own its own or with appetizers and forget about the pairing bit.
6) Did sangria earlier meant to be a ladies’ drink?
No I don’t think so. It’s only in our whisky soaked Indian minds that we think lighter style alcohol beverages are for the ladies.
7) Discuss the contemporary flavours used today? Some restaurants have peach and blue berry sangria… Comment on the popularity of sangria’s.
Sangria is becoming extremely popular in India. Pali Village Cafe in Bandra put in on the map and other restaurants have fabulous promotions working towards getting people to drink Sangria. Each restaurant or bar has their own version and the forward thinking ones are experimenting with new styles as well. It’s hot here in India so I’m not surprised that Sangria has taken off, plus its also a starting point for some people on their journey to drinking wine which itself is getting very popular.