By Tim Rodgers
In my mid twenties, I traveled throughout the east Mediterranean coast of Spain and spent a lot of time in the coastal towns of Valencia. There were many things about the cuisine and wines that were amazing, but one thing that stood was being introduced to Sangria for the first time.
Sangria, which is derived from the Latin word meaning the “color of blood,” has been around for centuries. You can make it with red or white wine if you please, and the beauty of Sangria is that you can fiddle around with it to make it to your particular taste. I was very impressed that almost every joint I went to in Spain had some variation of it, and in many cases on tap!
As you can imagine, my wife and I stumbled throughout the streets and alleys of Valencia with a slight dusting of inebriation. We came across a small Bodega in an alley off the beaten path that was clear that only locals frequented. “Jackpot!” I thought to myself. The shop owners were an old Spanish couple that were very proud of their wine that they had stored in Cedar barrels stacked high to the ceiling. My wife who happens to be part Spanish only speaks “American”, so my German-Irish pale face had to do all the talking. (Thanks high school Spanish!)
Fifteen minutes and 6 samples later, I had purchased 2 liters of some fine Spanish Tinto Rioja wine. But more importantly, I was able to get some tips on how to make some old world Sangria from the old Bodega owners. I took the wine and knowledge back to New York where I was living at the time and put it to work.
I give you, “Goldmine Sangria”
1 bottle of a Spanish red wine
1/2 cup of Orange Juice
1 cup of sugar
1 “Golden” delicious apple cut into thin slices
2 lemons cut into thin slices
1 pear cut into thin slices
3 ounces of “Crystal Skull” Vodka
2 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
1 ounce of B&B (Brandy & Benedictine)
1/2 ounce of triple sec
“Splash” of Tonic Water
Simply combine all of the ingredients except for the Tonic Water into a pitcher and allow to sit overnight. When you are ready to serve, top off your mixture with a healthy amount of the Tonic water to give it a little fizzzzz….. and serve.