Sangria is a traditional red wine punch drink that originated in Spain, but it is popular all over the world with many variations to speak of. The roots of this tasty beverage date back to 200 BC when the Romans planted vineyards in the Spanish region. The wine trade thrived in the region, as red grapes grew very well on the land. Furthermore, water was unsafe to drink at that time, and it was common to fortify the water with alcohol to kill off any bacteria. The first variation of sangria (which comes from the word “sangre” or “blood” in reference to its dark color), was most likely a creation comprised of water, wine, herbs, and spices (tasty, right?…). This served multiple purposes. First, of course, the wine was used to kill bacteria in the water. Secondly, the wine often wasn’t all that tasty, so herbs and spices were added to make the drink more palatable.
Now-a-days, Sangria is popular all over the world and remains a delicious Spanish specialty – if you find it at good local restaurants and not tourist traps, that is. There are many different variations of the red wine punch, but they typically all contain a red wine, fruit, and some sort of liquor – either rum or brandy. This recipe has a special (optional) twist – the addition of fresh vanilla bean. Enjoy!
1/2 apple, cored and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 vanilla bean (optional)
1 bottle dry red wine
1/3 cup brandy
Club soda (optional)
Cut the orange and the lemon in half. Squeeze the juice of half of the orange and half of the lemon into a pitcher, ensuring you remove any seeds. Thinly slice the remaining orange and lemon and add to the pitcher. Add the chopped apples, brown sugar, vanilla bean, red wine, and brandy to the pitcher and allow to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of four hours. Serve over ice in individual glasses. Top off the sangria with club soda to fill the glasses, if desired.