These days, sangria is one of the beloved go-to drinks of the American summer, and the ingredients used run the gamut. But what are the roots of this fruit- (and what-have-you-) enhanced wine concoction, among the most popular libations on our Tapas y Tintos menu here in South Beach?
A Few Sangria Historical Nuggets
Well, actually, the historical evolution of sangria isn’t all that well documented, though it’s clear some version of the drink goes back a few thousand years and covers quite a bit of geographic territory.
A forerunner of sangria was the Ancient Greek and Roman refreshment called hippocras, which was wine mixed with spices and other ingredients. Alcohol was widely consumed in olden times because it was a safer beverage than water, which was prone to contamination, and it was commonplace to add all sorts of other things to booze to expand the flavor variety and to temper its strength.
Early versions of sangria likely date back a long time in Spain, which was planted with vineyards going back to Phoenician days. Sangria means “blood” in Spanish and refers to the red wine traditionally used in these punches—especially Rioja wines such as Tempranillo.
In Britain as well as parts of mainland Europe, a wine punch made from claret (Bordeaux), brandy, and fruit was widely drunk in the 18thand 19th centuries.
As Nick Hines notes in this interesting VinePair article, sangria made a big leap forward in American popularity during the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, when it was served at Spain’s pavilion.
Variety’s the Spice of Life
While red wine served as the old-school base of sangria, white wine has also long been used to make (surprise, surprise) “white sangria.” And the sort of fruit added helps define sangria variants, a case in point being the Spanish kind called zurra, which employs peaches or nectarines.
Sangria at Tapas y Tintos
To complement our authentic Spanish cuisine as well as the rich spread of other wines, cocktails, and beer we pour here at Tapas y Tintos, we whip up a few absolutely delicious sangrias. They include our traditional Red Sangria embellished with orange rum, brandy, peach liqueur, apples, and citrus, plus a White Sangria boosted by Bacardi orange, peach snap, brandy, and citrus. You might also opt for our Bubbles Sangria made with sparkling wine, brandy, Cointreau, and citrus, or our lean-and-mean, sunshine-friendly Red Summer that adds a tasteful splash of Sprite and a bit of lime to red wine.
Thirsty? Of course you are! Come share a pitcher of sangria around our Tapas y Tintos tables—and taste a bit of history while you do!