The History of Sangria – a Popular Spanish Drink

SangriaThe Hispanic community is known for a lot of things and one of these is their love for party where they serve sumptuous food and refreshing drinks. The most popular drink that Spanish people serve during big celebrations like the Cinco de Mayo is Sangria. Sangria began humbly in Spain and has grown to be a favorite party drink all over the world.

Sangria was first tasted in the United States in the year 1964 during a World’s Fair held in New York. The Spanish community at that time served this fruity wine punch to the guests and the rest was history. Sangria was created based on the traditional red wine punch that was very popular in Europe for a long time.

The base of the punch is claret – a British term for Bordeaux wine from France. This is traditionally made from a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot wherein later brandy and fruit is added to enhance the flavor. The red wine punch was always served at parties during the 1700’s and 1800’s.


Sangria is a popular beverage in Spain and Portugal. It is named after the Spanish and Portuguese term for ‘bloodletting’ because it is dark-red in color. This drink usually consists of wine, chopped fruit, sweetener and a little brandy.

Variations in Sangria Recipe

The alcoholic content of Sangria varies greatly due to the many alterations that people have done to its recipe. It usually ranges from 4 percent up to 11 percent, depending on the ingredients used. Some use chopped fruits like oranges, lemons, apple, lime, melon, berries and pineapple. Others also put in sweeteners including honey, sugar and syrup. While others still add brandy as their spirit of choice, some people opt for other liquids such as seltzer, sprite or 7 up.

Furthermore, some chill their Sangria for as little as a few minutes while others let it mature for days or months. Also, some have it undergo carbonation while others do not. Here are some of the further variations that people do to their Sangria recipe.

White wine. Some Hispanics make use of white wine instead of red to make their Sangria concoction and they call it sangria blanca. Spanish folks who mix white into this beverage would like to lighten up the drink especially if they are using a heavy type of red wine.

Mulled wine. This is usually added to the beverage for a rich full-bodied taste together with a chilled slice of pear and some orange juice.

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