Yep, for July that most patriotic of months we are doing a Spanish recipe. While Sangria de la Vega does literally translate to the ‘Blood of the Vegas’. The Vega we got it from assures us that it is in fact nowhere close to such a thing, as their family is from Guadalajara and tequila runs through their veins, not blood. Regardless of how true that statement is, sangria really is a great refreshing adult beverage that can be served with any number of things. One of the best things about it is that it is essentially fruit punch, so you can’t really screw it up, and because it has a cool Spanish name you can sound classy as you sip it out of your bendy straw while eating your hot dog (what? that’s what we do). Okay, enough rambling here is the recipe for a pitcher of Sangria de la Vega:
-One bottle of cheap red wine (We mean cheap. The point of Sangria is to make a not so great wine drinkable. If someone tells you that you have to use good wine to make good sangria it is an indication that they don’t really know either one well)
-One bottle of POM (get the one that is straight pomegranate juice not one of the mixes)
-A can of Squirt
-A cup of orange juice
-1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
-Fruit* We use: 1/2 pomegranate slightly mashed, 1-2 cups red grapes, 1-2 blood oranges quartered (skin on), 1-basket sugared strawberries, 3-4 kiwi peeled and sliced and 1 mango peeled and diced, 1 lemon sliced (skin on), 2 limes sliced (skin on)
-Optional double shot of mid-range tequila (Cuervo or Hornitas. DO NOT use high-end tequila in mixed drinks)
You will need:
Sharp paring knife
A one-gallon pitcher (even if you serve it in a smaller pitcher you want to mix it in one gallon)
Prepare your fruit. Because we use sugared strawberries these need to be done the night before. All you need to do is remove the stems, put the strawberries on a baking dish or other flat surfaces that will fit in your fridge. sprinkle an even layer of granulated sugar (don’t use powdered) over the top of the strawberries. You don’t want to coat them. Then lightly cover and put in the fridge overnight. The strawberries absorb the sugar and since we don’t add extra sugar in this recipe it is the main source of sweetness. The next morning cut them in half to quarters depending on how big they are.
The pomegranates, you can buy them now in containers so that you don’t have to try and hack into a pom. In fact, if you are not making this in Aug-Oct you might have to buy them that way as poms are notorious for being a truly seasonal fruit even in our world of year-round growing seasons. We use half a pom worth or roughly a cup. Take a fork or a muddler and smash them a little. they should still look like pom pieces, but you want to release a little of the juice.
Grapes should be cut in half, blood oranges can be cut in half and then quartered, but leave the zest on. Kiwi has to be peeled and then can be roughly quartered. The mango needs to be peeled and then diced, partially because it releases more juice that way, and partially because it’s easier to cut off the seed if you dice it. Lemons and limes can be interchanged with each other. If you are making this in spring try the sweeter Meyer lemons as they pair very well with tequila. Either way, slice them into discs, leaving the zest on.
As you finish one type of fruit, throw it in your pitcher. There is no right order to this. Like we said this is what we use, but you can also add most fruits. We have also used grapefruit, oranges, apples, raspberries, and blackberries in our red sangrias. If you use the berries you can sugar them instead of the strawberries.
Once you are done with the fruit, add the whole bottle of your red wine. We often actually do 1 1/2 bottles if there are a lot of people, remember that the rule of thumb for an average wine bottle is 5 servings, we are adding more juice to this, but you should still assume about a bottle per 6-7 people.
Now add the lemon/lime juice, the orange juice, and the POM. we have also used apple juice, or grapefruit juice before, but we really like the combo of the sweet orange juice and the slightly bitter POM.
If you are adding tequila add it now.
Put the pitcher in the fridge for at least an hour if not two.
when it is time to serve, put the ice in individual glasses. Pour the glass 3/4 full with Sangria then finish the glass with Squirt. We know that squirt isn’t very sexy, and if you really want to use club soda instead you can, the point is you want to add just a little carbonation.
That’s it. Sangria is super easy, and fun to drink. Oh, and if you have squirt and tequila left over our other favorite refreshing cocktail is called a Poloma (dove) it is 1 part tequila to 3 parts squirt. enjoy!