I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before, but the entire month of December is Eggnog Month, and I have been partaking. My amazing former neighbors sent us a bottle of boozy holiday nog from Stinson Distilling in Driftwood Texas, and it goes really well with early afternoon coffee. My hip is out of commission, so there has been a noticeable uptick in the alcohol as the running has had to take a pause in favor of yoga and walking. Today is not just a nog day though, it is National Sangria Day, and I suspect it may also be Global Sangria Day, as Sangria itself is not rooted in American tradition.
Sangria dates back to early Greece, when people would add a splash of alcohol to their water to kill bacteria. Mulling it and adding a bit of fruit made it sweeter and more palatable for the masses, they called that early sangria hippocras. Around the same time people in what is now Spain, were making wine using their extensive vineyards and accessible fruits, until they were conquered by Moors. At that point, Spanish wine and sangria went on break until the 1400’s. By the 1800’s Sangria branched out of Spain into the rest of Europe. France would sometimes use their rosè or Beaujolais, but most of the rest of Europe would use Tempranillo or Garancha grapes. It took a while for the delicious nectar to make it’s way to us in the states, but fortunately it got a stronghold at the 1964 world’s fair. What a year for the US, that fair not only brought us “It’s a Small World”, “Great Moment’s with Mr Lincoln”, “the Carousel of Progress”, and an actual Rocketeer, but it also brought us Sangria! Thank you, 1964!
But all that was in the past. Today Sangria is enjoyed the world over, with South Central Florida being no exception. For my recipe, I decided on Casa Belfi, an Italian sparkling red wine that I found at my local cafe, I also used 2 12 ounce bottles of organic, real sugar cane ginger ale, 2 oranges, the zest of 1 orange, 1 apple, and 2 handfuls of cranberries. Any red wine on the dry side should work. If you want to go with a white wine, Spanish table wine is recommended, and people usually use summer fruits, like peaches and strawberries, but I operate under the “use what you have” motto. If you like white wine more than red wine and winter fruits are in season, I don’t see why you can’t find a combination that will work for you. Either way, you cut up the fruit, add the wine and ginger ale, and let all the flavors marry for at least 2-3 hours, overnight being the ideal. And if you are not into alcohol and would prefer a non alcoholic version, I saw a recipe that called for black tea, pomegranate juice, orange juice, and fruit. I bet that is delicious and it definitely won’t give you a hangover! Whatever your preference, there is a sangria for you! If you drink it today, December 20th, be sure to pair it with your ugliest holiday sweater; today is also Ugly Sweater day. And please tag me @hot_sauce_and_aspirin on instagram, or #hellodrunkies, I will give you a like and a follow! Show me your sangria and your sweaters today! I’ll post a sweater pic soon as well!