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Wine 101: How to make sangria wine

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With the abundance and availability of fruit, Sangria is on the minds of many during the summer months. It’s such an easy drink to prepare and sangria recipes can be customized exactly to your liking. Sangria is also a great solution when you open a wine that might not be what you were expecting. Toss in some fruit, add a little splash of brandy or simple syrup and your wine sangria becomes a tropical vacation in a glass.

Steps to making sangria

Select your wine
Sangria can be made using white, rosé or red wine so choose whatever you prefer or happen to have on hand. Keep in mind that the darker the wine, the more it will stain the fruit going into the sangria. So if you want the fruit in your sangria to retain most of its original colors, use a white wine.

Prepare your fruit
Wash all your fruit before making a pitcher of sangria. Berries of all types, from raspberries and strawberries to blackberries and blueberries, all are good choices as sangria fruit. Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, lemons, cherries and pineapple work well in sangria recipes too.

There are no hard and fast rules as to which fruits you can add so experiment often and find what you like best. Citrus can become a flavor bully so less is generally more. Or wait until you’re ready to drink your sangria before adding most of your citrus slices.

Find a vessel
Sangria wines are gorgeous and should be put into something that can really show them off. Wine decanters and glass pitchers are the perfect way to showcase your sangria.

And if that wine decanter has become a dust repository while stored in your kitchen cabinet, here is an easy way to clean it. Add a little soapy hot water and a handful of uncooked rice to the decanter. Swirl it around and around (you might have to put some muscle into it.) The uncooked rice kernels act as gentle scrubbers, removing any debris left in the bottom of your decanter. Just be sure to rinse your decanter well so you don’t end up with soap flavors in your sangria wine.

Combine your fruit & wine
Eating the drunken fruit out of your sangria glass is half the fun of drinking sangria! But let your fruit and wine party too long together and the fruit becomes rather mushy. To avoid a fruit calamity, combine your wine and fruit not more than two hours before you plan to drink the fruits of your labor.

Taste your concoction
Try your young sangria to see if you want it sweeter. You can add sugar (baker’s sugar, which is very fine, dissolves best), simple syrup (see recipe below) and/or brandy or triple sec. Orange or pineapple juice are also great ways to naturally sweeten your sangria.

Let your sangria rest
Stash your finished sangria wine in the refrigerator to give it time to marinate and chill a bit. You’ll give the flavors time to combine and the finished fusion is sure to be a delight.

Fun sangria additions for when its served
Sprigs of mint
Paper umbrellas
Colored straws
Maraschino cherries
7-Up or Sprite (especially if you’re looking to sweeten your sangria and even lower the alcohol a bit by diluting the mixture)
Cava, Prosecco or another sparkling wine (to add bubbly effervescence)

Sangria wine making, by its very nature, encourages creativity! Take advantage of all the wonderful fruits available during the summer months and mix up a batch of sangria. Everyone loves a tropical vacation in their glass on a warm summer day.

How to make simple syrup
Combine equal parts sugar and water into a saucepan and boil gently until sugar is dissolved. Allow syrup to cool before handling. Store simple syrup in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Variations of simple syrup
Add mint leaves, freshly grated ginger, rosemary, lavender or lemon zest to the simple syrup mixture before cooking. It’s a good idea to strain these out before using the simple syrup.

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