Hip Sips - Sangria



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Fresh and Fruity

Julia Park
Photo by Jennifer Loring

Want a change from the typical margarita for your Cinco de Mayo bash (or anytime in warm weather)? Pour yourself a refreshing glass of sangria, the perfect grownup party punch. Just about every Mexican or Spanish restaurant has its own recipe—a blend of wine, juice, sparkling water and fresh fruit over ice.
    Sangria is usually made from red wine (sangre is the Spanish word for blood); the white wine version is called sangria blanco. Sangria was originally made in Spain using Rioja wine with oranges and lemons. In the south of Spain, sangria is called zurra and is made with peaches or nectarines. While many recipes call for pricey vintages, sangria isn’t necessarily suited to the most expensive reds.
    Dan Marshall of Du Vin Fine Wines in Alameda (2526 Santa Clara Ave.) says, in his opinion, a 3-liter jug of Gallo Hearty Burgundy is “probably the best” for homemade sangria. He suggests any light, fruity red wine, such as a Grenache or Gamay, for less than $10 a bottle, as good choices if you can’t bear jug wine. Another option is “Simply Red,” a non-vintage Cabernet Sauvignon/Zinfandel blend by Millaire for $8.99. If you must have Spanish wine for your sangria, try the Viña Alarba old-vine Grenache for $8.99 at Du Vin.
    Pour two parts red wine to one part fruit juice (try orange or cranberry) and one part sparkling water into pitcher or shaker. You can kick up the alcohol content with a splash of brandy or Triple Sec per glass. Add sliced lemons, limes or oranges to each glass and serve over ice. If made by the pitcher, chill it for at least an hour before serving. Feeling adventurous? Change up the fruit content with kiwi, mango, pineapple, peach or pear juice and fruit.
    If all this mixing is too much for you, take the easy way out and order it with your next meal at one of these local restaurants: Barceluna (2319 Central Ave.), Acapulco Restaurant (2104 Lincoln Ave.), La Piñata No. 3 (1440 Park St.) or Juanita’s (1324 Park St.).