The best sangria I ever had in my life was made by a Spanish friend for my birthday party. The ingredients included a giant box of Franzia red, one bottle of Bombay Sapphire Blue, one cup of sugar, a liter of 7-Up, and some cinnamon sticks. She put everything but the 7-Up in a giant zinc bucket from Home Depot and insisted that it had to sit overnight so the flavors could blend (and so the Franzia wouldn't taste so, well, Franzia-ish).
On the second day, she stopped by with an enormous salad bowl of cut-up fruit: apples, oranges, lemon and lime slices, pineapple, and pears. All the fruit went into the giant zinc bucket too, to let the fruit absorb the flavors of the sangria and vice versa. Eight hours later at dinnertime, she added the soda and deemed it was ready to drink. It was perfect.
And while this recipe was pretty easy to make (dumping ingredients in a bucket and cutting up fruit were the only "skills" required), it had a longish waiting period that was worth it mostly because I was serving a large group of people.
What about the days when you just want enough sangria for one or two people, and didn't think to plan ahead? Never fear—there are a couple of quick and easy solutions for fast, tasty sangria.
The first method requires a wine vacuum pump, aka a wine saver—remember those? They were popular housewarming gifts and stocking stuffers once upon a time. They removed air from a half-finished bottle of wine before you re-corked it, thus slowing down the oxidation process and giving it a longer shelf life.
Everybody I know who had one used it six times and then tossed it in the back of the kitchen drawer. Now it'll actually come in handy.
Using a funnel (or fashioning one from aluminum foil), put all your ingredients inside the wine bottle, apply the wine saver, and pump like the dickens for at least one minute. What you're doing here is a flash vacuum infusion, or removing air within the food so that it can be occupied by liquid. This speeds up the integration and blending of flavors inside the container. It's very similar to cooking meat with the sous vide method.
Once you're done removing air from the bottle, lay it on its side to rest for five minutes. Then open the bottle, empty it into a larger container (make sure all the fruit gets out—the sangria-soaked fruity bits are the best part) and enjoy.
The second method is even quicker and easier and comes to us via The Bitten Word. All you need is a bottle of dry red wine, a bottle of sparkling lemonade, and ice-filled glasses. Pour equal parts into the glasses and enjoy. We'd also add that you should take a few seconds to stir your drink, since that will make it chill faster and help the flavors blend.
Turns out this is a beloved Spanish drink called tinto de verano. While it's not strictly sangria, it combines many of the qualities that are loved about sangria: fruitiness, sweetness, and the contrast of dry wine with the fruit sugars. Whichever method you choose, enjoy!
What's your favorite sangria recipe?