You’ve probably had sangría before, maybe even one of the modern versions of it. Sangría is considered Spain’s un-official national beverage. Since it can be made ahead of time, it’s usually served when entertaining. Traditional sangría in Spain includes red wine, soda, some hard liquor, citrus and other fruit, usually stonefruit like peaches, in season in the summer, when sangría is most consumed.
In the last few years I’ve been seeing all sorts of drinks labelled “sangría” that may include alcohol or not, and different fruits not seen in a traditional Spanish sangría. I wouldn’t say those mixes are not sangría. Rather, what I like to think, is that the word sangría has become a generalized term for any drink that includes chunks of fruit —much like paella, which nowadays (and only outside of Spain), many people refer to as any rice dish cooked in a shallow pan and that includes a lot of fish and shellfish. Those dishes, or rather, their names, have become commonplace.
I had planned to post the recipe for sangría early in the summer, but that didn’t happen. If you had told me I wouldn’t be posting any recipes on Mama Ía blog during most of the summer, I would not have believed you. In fact, that was not the plan at all! I had a couple of recipes ready to go, and more I was working on while summering in Spain. I had planned, though, to take my first two weeks in Spain off from posting on the blog. I just knew from experience that those first two weeks are very busy, with family and friends and travel and reconnecting with my land again. Also, the Internet connection at my mom’s summer home is always iffy, and I cannot trust it completely.
But those first two weeks passed, and an opportunity came to travel to Lisbon, Portugal. Who could say no? A fabulous trip I will no doubt tell you about soon.
All this time off blogging was not time wasted for my blog, though. Traveling gives you new experiences, and if you document them, like I do, you can end up with beautiful memories to go back to (and with a number of blog posts!) So you can imagine how I was itching to get back to it, sort my photos, edit, write, while continuing to enjoy the change of scenery and the change of culture from what I experience most of the rest of the year.
But then, alas, technology turned its back on me. My laptop crashed —memory, database, blog. My children blame it on me downloading too many photos (could they be right?) Fixing the problem has been slow and painstaking. I think I’m good to go now, fingers crossed. This is one of the downsides of being a one person company —designer, cook, photographer, editor, IT person: it all falls in one person (me!), on my own and only twenty four hour day.
Running a blog comes from the heart. You cannot do it because you have to, it should never be or feel like an obligation. Because it requires hours of dedication and work, you have to love what you do —in my case, every aspect of it: photography and cooking and writing. I’ve read how many bloggers get very nervous if they don’t post weekly, or twice a week. If you’ve been following me, you know I post (roughly) weekly (sometimes my weeks run eight days). That’s my pace, and I like it that way. And sometimes, even, (like when I start my summer at home in Spain), I don’t blog for a while. I spend some time reconnecting and enjoying everything I’ve missed the rest of the year, and I’m totally fine with it.
So I hope you bear with me as a new season, and a new school year starts. I have a few summer recipes that I would like to post, and hopefully the change of seasons won’t catch up with me. Luckily, my vegetable garden is bursting with produce now, and I couldn’t be happier. My son Ethan started school last week, David starts this week, and Matthew will go back to college next week. It almost feels like the end of the summer, the happy times of family gatherings and outings, but also the start of a new year and new experiences for everyone.
I’m sharing the recipe for classic Spanish sangria, the way I make it. To make it here in Fort Wayne I had to buy the fruit, but at my house in Spain, we consume what the land gives us, at the time it gives it. This summer we harvested peaches and plums mostly, crates and crates of them. We made pies, and tarts, and of course sangría, and jars and jars of jam and marmalade. And we’ve been eating them raw by the handful. My mom keeps a large fruit bowl full of them in the kitchen, and one can’t help but grab a piece when passing by. I love to see my children and my nieces and nephews harvesting the fruit from the trees, the way I and my sisters and cousins used to do in our childhood.
It’s hot and try in Onteniente, and that’s another aspect that I love. People complain about the heat in the summer. I, in the other hand, complain that air conditioners are set at too low temperatures and it’s too cold to get inside stores and buildings. I like to feel the summer, the dryness, and even the dust of the soil on my feet. Childhood memories become very powerful.
I make sangría with the more traditional fruits, apple, peaches and oranges. I used a tempranillo grape wine, and you can use a garnacha as well (you can find them in full-bodied Spanish wines like Rioja or Ribera del Duero, but you can also find bottles labelled as tempranillo or garnacha). Whichever wine you use, I’m sure the result will be delicious. I specially like to eat the fruit the next day, when it has soaked in the liquids. A word of advice: make sure you stand up slowly after you’ve had a couple of glasses, it’s sweet and goes down easily, but it has quite a bit of alcohol! The same goes for the day-after fruit.
1 orange, sliced into thin wedges or rings
1 peach, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1 apple, cored and sliced into thin wedges
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbs granulated sugar (optional)
1 cup lemon or lime flavored soda
1/2 cup brandy
1 bottle full bodied Spanish red wine (like Rioja or Ribera del Duero)
In a large pitcher, strain the orange juice through a colander. If using sugar, add and stir with a long wooden spoon to dissolve.
Add the orange, apple and peach, followed by the remaining liquids, and gently stir to mix. Chill until ready to serve, at which point you can add a handful of ice cubes.