On the Rocks

The secrets of sultry sangria

Nuthin' screams summer more than sweet, sultry sangria. This delicious Spanish mixture of fruit juice, sugar and wine satisfies the need for a relaxing shot of summer. Red sangria was introduced to the U.S. in the early 1960s at the New York World's Fair. Seems the fun, fruity wine cooler struck a chord with the hoities, and minds opened. A few ground rules: 1.When choosing a wine for your sangria, start with a trusted brand you would drink by itself because poorly made wine will glaringly reflect in the finished product. The wine doesn't have to be expensive; Spanish wines are often excellent values. 2. Always serve over ice, except the sparkling version. This Spanish tradition shouldn't be messed with. 3.Individualize your sangria with different fruit to create your own personalized recipe.

The following recipes originated from several sources, from close friends to publicists to the depths of my imagination. Try these and dive into the summer heat.

Sparkling White Sangria

Refreshing and perfect for picnicking. The pineapple pops, the sparkling wine fizzes and the light citrus finish is crisp. This one comes from a recipe that I've concocted over several years.

1 lemon
1 orange, preferably navel
1/2 c. pineapple chunks, drained
1/2 c. canned peaches, drained or 1 fresh, ripe sliced peach
1/4 c. sugar
1 bottle chilled sparkling wine, preferably Spanish Cava

Two hours before serving, cut lemon and orange in half. Squeeze half of each into a pitcher, and thinly slice other halves. Add slices, plus all other fruit and sugar to pitcher. Stir until fruit is coated, and refrigerate at least an hour. Add chilled sparkling wine when ready to serve.

René Barbier White Sangria

Sweet like an apple pie or cider.
4 T. light brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 apples, preferably yellow, sliced
2 lemons, sliced in rounds
1 orange, sliced in rounds
1 bottle dry white wine, preferably Rene Barbier Mediterranean White

Mix the fruit, sugar and cinnamon together in a pitcher. Fill the pitcher with ice, then add wine. Stir and chill until ready to serve.

Mariana Brown's Red Sangria

By far the best Sangria I've ever tasted. She says the difference comes from bruising the orange peel. It's slightly sweet but hearty at the same time, and the orange permeates the whole glass. Yummy.

1/4 c. sugar
1 medium size orange
1/2 Granny Smith apple, diced
1/2 lb. strawberries, sliced
1/2 c. orange flavor liqueur (like triple sec)
1/2 c. brandy
2 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 bottle chilled red wine, preferably Spanish
3/4 to 1 T. cinnamon

Cut orange in half. Quarter one half for garnish. With a vegetable peeler, thinly remove the outer peel of the other half of the orange. In a bowl, using a spoon, bruise the peel with the sugar to release the orange oil. Add 1/4 c. of orange liqueur. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the orange peel from the sugar/liqueur mixture and transfer to a pitcher. Stir in the orange juice, wine, cinnamon, brandy, apples, strawberries and remaining liqueur. Cover and chill for 1/2 hour.

Serve Sangria garnished with quartered orange slices. Add ice cubes to individual glasses before serving.

Wine Editor Taylor Eason can be reached at 813-248-8888 ext. 162 or [email protected].

Recommended Wines2001 Borsao Campo de Borja Garnacha Made with the French Grenache grape grown in Spain, this lighter-style, fruit-forward wine is perfect for those looking for a milder Sangria. The price is right too. $6 1/2

Freixenet Brut Cava Carta Nevada Cava is the Spanish way of saying sparkling wine, and this one fits the sparkling Sangria bill. Slightly sweet, it melds well with the peaches and pineapples, adding a lemony punch all its own. $8

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