Summer is sangria season

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Sangria is a perfectly refreshing option for summer.

By Mary Malik

When the weather warms up, even the most devoted red wine drinkers search for something a little more refreshing. When entertaining, finding that perfect complement to the summertime fare can be a challenge.

“While white and rosé wines are the typical pairings for the lighter, summer meals, sangria is an often overlooked choice,” says Jim Sperk of the Northern Ohio Wine Guild. “Traditionally, sangrias are made with Tempranillo or Grenache wines, but any fruity red such as merlot, pinot noir, beaujolais or zinfandel work just as well.”

Jim says adding sliced oranges, limes, apples, peaches, strawberries, or berries makes it even more refreshing and usually orange juice, lemonade or sparkling water is added to enhance the citrus flavors.

Sangria was first introduced in the United States at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. The Spanish exhibit at the fair served the fruity wine to visitors and history was made.

“Typical sangria recipes call for two bottles of red wine, a quart of juice, one half cup of brandy or rum and two tablespoons of sugar or honey,” says Jim. “Since sangria is the Spanish word for ‘blood,’ it is traditional to use red wine but there’s no reason why a fruited white or rosé wine base couldn’t be used if that is your preference. It’s your wine, so be sure to drink what you like.”

If you’re new to sangria, Jim advises washing the fruit first but leaving the peels on the slices.

“The key to making a great sangria is to refrigerate, allowing the wine and fruit to meld together for at least two hours, and preferably overnight, before serving,” says Jim. “Ladle the mixture, along with some of the fruit, over ice in a glass tumbler and enjoy.”

For information on the Northern Ohio Wine Guild, contact Jim Sperk at