While you can buy pre-made bottled sangria, it just doesn’t compare to this spiced sangria recipe. Real apple cider, brandy, orange and lemon juices, and a spiced simple syrup impart fresh winter flavor without modern-day additions like high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives.
Traditional sangria is a delicious blend of juices, brandy, spices and soda water, usually served over ice and laden with chopped fresh fruit. Enjoyed all over the world, its roots date back to 200 BC, when Romans brought grapes and the process of winemaking to Spain.
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Such spiced wines were popular throughout Europe in ancient times. Everyone from the youngest children to the elderly drank alcoholic beverages then, because water was not sanitized, and the alcohol content killed the bacteria.
To create variety, people experimented with spices and flavors to add to their drinks, and the result was an extraordinary, fruity-tasting wine concoction known as sangria.
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Although sangria had been popular in Spain for centuries, it didn’t arrive in the U.S. until the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Visitors loved it, and the rest is history!
Traditionally, sangria is made with a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot, but you can get creative with your wine choices. While red wine is the traditional base, white wine sangria (sangria blanco) is another delicious version, while using a sparkling wine such as Cava is a tasty, bubbly alternative.
Citrus fruits are classic choices for your punch, but feel free to add your favorite fruits — peaches, strawberries and kiwi all are delectable additions.
Spiced simple syrup
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- Black peppercorn
- Cinnamon sticks
- Star anise and clove (to preference)
- 1/4 cup sliced ginger root
- 1 bottle dry red wine (we used Spanish tempranillo)
- 1 cup apple cider
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) brandy
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 ounces lemon juice
- 1/2 cup spiced simple syrup
- To prepare spiced simple syrup, combine all syrup ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. (Store any extra in refrigerator.)
- Combine all cocktail ingredients and mix well.
- Chill for 2–4 hours.
- Before serving, garnish with fruit (suggestions: oranges, apples, pears)
- Store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
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