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Sangria Time!

Sangria Time!

Leona Taylor | Chef's Blade

In summer, the days linger longer and the temperature is warm to hot. It is this time of year, with the garden in blossom and the grass richly green, that the lawn chair beckons and thoughts of Sangria come a ‘knockin.

Years ago in San Francisco I was introduced to this elixir at Cha Cha Cha on upper Haight Street, where the rythyms are mellow and the vibe mixes the early outdoor crowd with the all nighters. The house specialty is Sangria, a sublime concoction of wine, fruit and spirits that pairs well with their Latin inspired cuisine. My fascination with the house drink at Cha Cha Cha led me to try my own recipes at home, where the surroundings are a bit more home on the range with just a pinch of sabor.

Sangria, which translates to bloody in Spanish, hails from Spain and Portugal and is popular in Mexican culture and other Latin countries. Variations hinge on the use of carbonated water, various fruits, and spices. The key to making Sangria is having the patience to allow each flavor to meld and leaving each batch preferably overnight for perfection. Sangria provides an excellent solution for – dare I say it? – left over wine, which tends to lose its best flavors fairly quickly after a day or two. The sugar and spirits in Sangria act as preservatives allowing you to store each batch for up to a week or more in the refrigerator for casual entertaining.

Sangria can also be great as a centerpiece and conversation starter when displayed in a nice glass jar. Sliced fruits, cinnamon sticks and even Star Anise add to the decorative quality of this house elixir. To make your own Sangria follow the loose guideline on the next page or use Cha Cha Cha’s recipe as an additional resource.

For Sangria tips and ingredients, go to the next page >>