Finally, warmth is upon Florida. After one of the coldest and longest winters anyone can remember, we are ready to embrace the warm days ahead. And with the rising temperatures comes the desire to find something, anything that is refreshing to the palate. With the warmth of spring comes the perfect time to drink SANGRIA! The name sangria refers to the color of the wine used; traditionally strong red wines with purple hues similar to the color of blood sangre means blood in Spanish. With its popularity around the world, Sangria seems more a global concoction than a Spanish drink based on years of heritage. Sangria was originally made as a way to make lesser expensive table wines a little more palatable; it also created a way to extend the life of an already open bottle of wine. The refreshing spirit of Sangria comes from the fact that it was initially a drink formulated in the south of Spain, where the intense heat becomes unbearable in the summer months. This drink is meant to be fruity and refreshing. The classic Sangria is made with Rioja or other Spanish reds. However, lusciously refreshing Sangria can be made with Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, or with other white wines such as the Rioja white. Remember that the fun in Sangria is making it. You can experiment with different fruits, liqueurs and wines. Many wine stores have special Sangria tastings in the summer months; keep on the lookout. Following is a recipe to get you started on your path to Sangria bliss.
- Familia Oliveda Brut Cava or other Cava*
- 1 medium mango, peeled, pitted and cut into pieces
- 1 medium banana, sliced
- 1/8 cup brandy
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup soda water, mango/peach flavor
- Four thin slices of lemon and dash of lemon juice
Mix all ingredients in pitcher and let sit in refrigerator for one hour. This Sangria should be served within one to two hours of preparation otherwise the bubbles from the sparkling wine will weaken diminishing the taste of this particular recipe. Stir before serving.
*Cava is Spanish sparkling wine made in the champagne method with a blend of the indigenous grapes of xarel-lo, macabeo and parellada.