A glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away! So, what happens during summer when it’s too hot to drink your classic tinto? You make Sangria! Sangria, which means bloodletting in Portuguese is an alcoholic drink made of a mix of wine, chopped fruit, ice, and spices. We often think of it as a Spanish invention, but both Portugal and Spain share the credits for the creation of Sangria. In fact, according to EU regulation, these are the only two countries allowed to call and sell it as Sangria.
Origins of Sangria
The term Sangria was first coined in the 18th century, however the process of mixing wine and spices is thought to have been common since ancient times. During the Roman period, wine and spices would be added to water for purification. The alcohol would kill the bacteria present in the water, making it safer to drink. Early recipes for these spiced wines can be traced back to the 13th century under the name of piment. Eventually, piment would also be referred to as hippocras as a mention to Hippocrates’s sleeve – an instrument used to separate the spices from the wine. Later additions to hippocras were sugar, fruit, spirits and even nuts. The drink became highly fashionable in Europe during the Middle Ages, especially for its supposed medicinal properties, later inspiring creations like mulled wine, sangria and clericó. Nowadays, basically every country with a heavy wine culture has its own version of this summer drink.
What Wine Should be used in Portuguese Sangria?
Traditionally, sangria is made with red wine, that’s where it gets it’s name after all! However, there is no hard rule when it comes to what wine to use. There are excellent Sangrias made with white, rosé and sparkling wine. In Portugal, even green wine (vinho verde) and some varieties of Port wine can be used. Personally, I like to use light and fruity wines over oaky and full-bodied ones. Today, we’re making a version of white sangria, made with a Portuguese white wine!
An Authentic Portuguese Sangria Recipe
For this recipe, I used white wine, orange blossom gin, vermouth, and white port. As for the fruit, I mixed green apples, lime, orange, and lemon. You can play with the combination of spirits and fruit and customize it accordingly to what you have at hand. Some good options of spirits are spiced rum, brandy, orange liquor and vodka. This recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and very flavourful, and when served in a clear jug makes for a great decoration for your table!
- 1 bottle of white wine
- 30ml vermouth
- 50ml orange blossom gin
- 30ml white port
- 1 orange
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- ½ green apple
- Fresh mint
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ tbsp sugar
- Ice cubes
- 7up or Sprite
- Start by cutting your fruit into uniform slices. Add the fruit, a couple leaves of fresh mint, the cinnamon stick and sugar to a tall glass jug. Using a long spoon or macerating tool, gently press your fruit to allow it to release some liquid.
- Add the chilled wine, vermouth, port wine and gin to the jug, stir well. Place the jug in the fridge, let it chill for at least an hour.
- Before serving, add the ice, top it up with 7 up, stirring well to combine the ingredients.
- Serve your sangria over more ice, garnish it with fruit slices and fresh mint.
What is your favourite type of sangria? Is there any ingredient you would add to my recipe? Let me know in the comments!