Sangria is a delicious, fruit-based wine 'punch' with its traditions well rooted in Spain and Portugal, also consumed in Argentina, Uruguay and Trinidad & Tobago. It normally consists of wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and a small amount of added brandy.
To be specific, the wine used to make Sangria is a light, dry, young, high acid, unoaked, inexpensive wine, usually red wine due to Sangria's association with the word blood. In the case of fruits, they are chopped or sliced such as orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grapes and mango. A sweetener such as honey, sugar, simple syrup, orange juice is added.
Instead of brandy, other liquids such as lemonade may be added conversely spirits can be added to increase the alcohol content.
Because of the variation in recipes, Sangria's alcoholic content can vary greatly. White wine can be used instead of red, in which case the result is called Sangria Blanca or as in Argentina 'Clerico'. An affordable bottle of un-oaked, fruit forward Chardonnay works well, so does a dry Riesling, Albarino or a Chenin Blanc to name a few. Some recipes that use heavier reds can be lightened by mixing a bottle of white in the recipe. In some parts of Northern Spain, Sangria is called 'zurra' and is made with peaches or nectarines, in some regions of Portugal; cinnamon is also added with the sweetener.
Sangria is served throughout Spain and Portugal during summer and in the southern and eastern parts of the countries year-round. Often served in 1-litre pitchers or other containers large enough to hold a bottle of wine plus the added ingredients. A strainer also helps prevent the fruit and ice cubes from falling into the glass. Sangria is also commonly served in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Chile and the Philippines, in bars and restaurants. While Spain is heralded as the creator of Sangria, countries all over the globe have adapted the recipe to make a fruit-filled wine beverage that is refreshing and easy to drink with a wide variety of foods and summer occasions.