Why not sangria in February? This is peak season for the sweetest, juiciest citrus fruits, and I have an orange pile of Valencias, navels, clementines, tangelos and blood oranges on my countertop, plus smooth Meyer lemons and heavy grapefruit. We had a springlike January here, and sangria seemed like an appropriate salute to the winter sun.
An open bottle of wine begs to be finished, but a carafe of sangria can easily hang out in the fridge for a couple of days, getting smoother and mellower, available anytime for a refreshing little glug here and there.
Sangria is best made with simple, inexpensive wine, making it a relaxed, accessible drink for any occasion, or no occasion at all.
After trying several variations, I found Cooks Illustrated’s to be the simplest and best: no weird stuff like soda or lemonade concentrate, just fresh orange and lemon. Clean and easy, it’s a taste of bright, crisp California sunshine.
You can use any fruity, medium-bodied wine for sangria. Spanish rioja or its varietals, tempranillo and grenacha, are great options. Merlot or zinfandel work well too.
Thinly slice one orange and one lemon (washed and, if you can, organic). Juice of one more orange. This $5 bottle of tempranillo-grenacha blend from Trader Joe’s was perfect.
Muddle the citrus with some sugar. My wooden spoon wouldn’t fit through the neck of my carafe, so I flipped it and used the handle.
Add the wine and, if you like, a bit of triple sec or brandy. Chill for at least a couple of hours, or overnight. Serve over ice and garnish with fruit. A splash of sparkling water is also nice, particularly if your sangria is extra-fortified.
Fresh Citrus Sangria
Sangria is best made with inexpensive wine, making it a relaxed drink for any occasion, or no occasion at all. A carafe of sangria can easily hang out in the fridge for a couple of days, getting smoother and mellower, available anytime for a refreshing little glug here and there. Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.
- 2 large juice oranges, washed; one orange sliced; remaining orange juiced (about 1/2 cup juice)
- 1 large lemon, washed and sliced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 bottle inexpensive, fruity, medium-bodied red wine (750 milliliters)
- 1/4 cup triple sec or other orange-flavored liqueur (optional)
- Add orange and lemon slices, orange juice and sugar to a large pitcher; mash gently with wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Add wine and triple sec and stir. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or even better, overnight.
- Stir before serving. Serve over ice and/or with a splash of chilled sparkling water.
Makes 4 glasses of sangria.
- In the Spanish theme, try Rioja or its varietals, Tempranillo or Garnacha. Merlot or zinfandel are also good options.
- Brandy is another traditional fortification to sangria; use in place or in addition to triple sec.
- Add cut-up fruit to sangria glasses for visual appeal (and post-drink snacking).
Here’s the link to a printable version.
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