Sangria Magic At Home
You work hard. You should play hard too. The harder you work, the harder you are entitled to play. But if you’re like me, after a long work week, some down time at home is just what the doctor orders for recharging your batteries and getting back on track. When I find myself feeling this way, I often entertain at home with family and friends. This means great food, great wine, and some great conversations for great times and even better memories. What’s a hard working IT Guy to do? Invite everybody over and make some homemade Sangria Wine! I love Sangria! The taste just gets me particularly when it’s done right.
Getting Help From Total Wine
Total Wine has an excellent wine selection and knowledgeable staff. That’s why I turned to Total Wine for some help recently with planning a small dinner party at home. For me, I always focus intensively on pairing my wine with the food.
Getting the right combination is essential. For this occasion, I had a taste for authentic Mexican food featuring Chicken Fajitas and Mexican Street Corn, and last but not least – Homemade Sangria! One of Total Wine’s experts came to my rescue.
With key help from Total Wine’s Wine Team Member Sora Sirotta, my dinner party was a hit. Though small and intimate in size, it was packed with power and flavor.
What was amazing is that there was another party going on in the neighborhood (competing against my event). The guests had been invited to both events.
But, I started getting requests from another household to PLEASE SEND OVER SOME OF YOUR SANGRIA! Here’s how I made this Sangria possible.
Having Your Own Wine Expert
Sora helped me pick out the right wine, and for the right reasons. After considering Sora’s suggestions, I chose the ‘Tres Pico Borsao Garnacha 2016’ as the base wine for my Sangria. I chose another wine for cooking. I actually made two different dishes – Shrimp Scampi, and Chicken Fajitas. Did I mention that I love to cook?
I needed something to eat while we were all patiently waiting for the Sangria to come together since the Sangria has to sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours AFTER it’s all mixed. Then we needed an actual meal to go with the Sangria. The competing flavors of the food and the wine were right on point! Again, did I mention I love to cook?
And I love to drink wine even more! Since Sangria Wine takes at least 24 hours to make, I made Shrimp Scampi for dinner to eat while I was ‘sampling the wines’ and actually making my Sangria.
The Shrimp Scampi was delicious.Pictured here is the Shrimp Scampi I made topped with a bit of Parmesan Cheese, and served with a side of Bruschetta.
Although I prefer my food to have richness and a deep punch, I intentionally toned down the seasoning to allow for others who have health restrictions to enjoy the food. I added my favorite stuff back in on the back end.
But the basics in the shrimp scampi sauce were the white wine, garlic, butter, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil. If you’ve ever made this, you’ve learned NOT SKIMP ON THE SCAMPI SAUCE!
I promised Sora that I’d let everyone know how things turned out, so this blog’s for you Sora!
Great Sangria Wine Starts With Great Ingredients
My intention was to make some great Sangria. In my life, I probably made hundreds of gallons of homemade Sangria. I’ve learned to make everything from scratch. I don’t buy pre-mix and I don’t cut corners. I don’t care what it costs. The last thing I want are close family and friend sitting around and saying “…BLAH!” As you can see from the photo here, only the best, and the freshest ingredients went into my Sangria Wine. For all you other hardworking IT folks out there like me, here’s my recipe. Please enjoy it during your days off with your family and friend!
- 2 Bottles of Red Spanish Table Wine (I use Borsao Tres Picos Campo de Borja or a similar kind)
- 1 Cup of Blackberry Brandy
- 1/2 Cup of Cointreau
- Add 1 Cup of Orange Juice
- Also add 1 Cup of Pomegranate Juice
- 1 Cup (more or less) of thinly sliced apples (washed)
- 2 Cups of Fresh Blackberries (washed)
- 3 Cups of Fresh Blueberries (washed)
- 3 Cups of Fresh Sliced Pineapple small chunks (washed)
Mixing Sangria Wine
Mix everything together in a pitcher or large glass mason jar. Let stand at least 24hours overnight in an airtight container placed in the refrigerator.
Sangria Wine Ice Cubes
Also, get two empty ice cube trays. Place one piece of fruit into each of the ice cubes trays. Pour Pineapple juice over the fruit in one tray, and pour Apple juice of the fruit in the other tray. You will have one tray of fruit with Pineapple juice and the other with Orange Juice. Do NOT put place ice cubes into your finished Sangria!!! The regular ice cubes will water down your Sangria wine and make it taste weak and bland. Use only the fruit cubes you made to keep the Sangria potent and smooth!
Serving Your Sangria Wine
Sangria Serving Temperature Is Important
For you and your guests to truly enjoy your Sangria to the fullest, you must pay attention to the little details. The serving temperature has to be right. The glass has to be right. The food has to be right. For me, my Sangria Wine is for SIPPING! Not chugging. And, as a ‘Smooth Sipper’, it will be enjoyed ‘slowly’! It’s not easy to keep the wine temperature cold particularly on hot summer nights or in the heat of the sun. Yet, this is precisely when the wine is the most enjoyable.
Sangria Serving Glass Is Important
I would recommend either using a wine glass with a shorter stem, or a rounded short glass. When I hold the glass, for sipping, I try to hold it without letting the heat of my hands warm the wine inside of the glass. This means holding it from the bottom, or from the stem, but not the body of the glass. Alternatively, you could just sit it down on a flat surface, and only pick it up when you are ready for a sip. This works.
Setting Up the Sangria Wine Serving
For an added touch, try quickly rinsing your glass, and then putting the glass into the freezer. This will result in a frosted glass, turning almost white momentarily when you remove it from the freezer. Pour just a spritz of club soda into the bottom of the wine glass. Then pour your Sangria into the glass. After that, I would put one ice cube of the Pineapple fruit cube into the glass, and one cube of the Orange fruit cube. When you pour the Sangria Wine into the glass, you may see the frost fade slightly.
Caution Is Needed – Proceed Slowly With Sangria Wine
As I mentioned, I make Sangria for sipping, not chugging. The recipe I gave above will make about 8 servings. This is not to make anyone drunk. This is to enjoy and enhance your dinner. For a small dinner party, 2 couples, then this should allow each person to have 2 glasses each – one before dinner, and one during dinner. The Sangria will taste totally different with dinner than it will taste before dinner, at least to me. Also, don’t fill the glass to the rim. You can always go back for more. You just want to avoid wasting any of the Sangria. As you can see from the picture here, this is how I often serve my homemade Sangria Wine (minus the slice of fruit I always add – lime, orange, or lemon).
Wait – There’s More!
After all the Sangria is gone, which most likely will be soon, you’ll have the fruit left over in the jar. People have been known to fight over the fruit that’s left over. I sometimes use it for a dessert topping on tapioca pudding, ice scream, sherbert or gelato. Try it. Or if you’re ready for another batch, you could just add more of the ingredients above to the existing fruit filled jar, and let it sit in the frig for another 24 hours. If you find you didn’t get enough of your own wine the first time, this is your chance to make up for it, and keep it to yourself. Don’t invite anyone over for this second batch!
When you work as hard as we do in the I.T. industry, it’s really nice when you can have some downtime for relaxing and entertainment. This is all even better when you can do it from the comforts of your home. I’m sharing this recipe and my experiences so you can have a better quality of life. And when you return to work and the question comes up, “….what did you do for the weekend?”. Only you will know the real reason why you’re smiling. My answer is always the same. “…I just stayed home, and chilled out.”
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve made this, and how your family or friends enjoyed your Sangria! CHEERS!