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How Sangria Went From Spanish Symbol To Global Phenomenon

How Sangria’s Emerged From Spanish Roots To A Global Phenomenon

Sangria, a delicious drink prepared from red or white wine, a splash of brandy and lots of citrus fruits is a cocktail that has started enjoying widespread popularity because of its sweet and tangy taste and the ease with which it can be made at any home hosting event. With wine as its core ingredient, sangria enjoys a reputation for packing a hint of a kick even as it is filled with citrus notes that undercut some of the bitter and intense textures of the grapes and liquors that go into its making.

It is no wonder then that sangria is a sought after cocktail at a slumber party, on game night or at a themed gathering when you want to have some fun. Over time a lot of different variations of this drink have come up too which put many seasonal and regional twists on the classic recipe. However, the history of the sangria and its ensuing global popularity dates back centuries, even before so many modern variations were introduced into the recipe.

Sangria: A Peek Into History

According to VinePair, it is possible to trace the first hints of the sangria to the ancient Greek and Roman times when the drink was prepared by mixing wine, sugar, spices and whatever else was available to the makers to make a concoction similar to a mulled wine. The drink was called hippocras from which both mulled wine and sangria seemed to have emerged. Back then, alcohol was added to water ridden with bacteria to make it potable and when it was gulped down with wine, it would taste better too. This was a practice followed by many who worked with grape vines growing in Spain, first planted by the Phoenicians and later by the Roman rulers.

How Sangria’s Emerged From Spanish Roots To A Global Phenomenon

Sometime in the 8th century, when Spanish wine making faltered due to cultural and military upheavals, sangria too became largely obscure and it wasn’t until the mid 15th century that the drink reappeared in Spanish drinking practices. At this time, it was prepared using lots of deep hued red wine procured from Rioja so much so that the word sangria is believed to have its origins in the Spanish word ‘sangre’ meaning blood.

Eventually, the drink garnered the popularity it enjoys today as more and more regional variations began to be incorporated into the recipe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, sangria began to be prepared using French grapes as well. Through time, white wine also began to be used to make sangria by blending it with peaches to craft a drink which was earlier called the zurra. Now, sangria is most often prepared by bringing together a splendid red, white or sparkling wine with orange liqueur and other citrus fruits like oranges, pineapples and apples.

A Global Trend

One of the reasons sangria has been enjoying widespread fame is because of the versatility of this drink which can carry lots of different local and regional flavours. Every province has its own way of coming up with a sangria that exudes tropical, fruity, nutty flavours and textures to infuse lots of freshness and vitality into the cocktail.

How Sangria’s Emerged From Spanish Roots To A Global Phenomenon

In the 20th century, sangria acquired a global stage when Spain’s pavilion sponsored the drink at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Cocktail enthusiasts were quick to recognise the tangy, sour yet sweet and smooth feel of the drink leading to its proliferation in America. Eventually, the cocktail travelled across the seas to reach Asian and Pacific shores too, so that sangria variations are now well-known as much in the tropical climes of the Indian subcontinent as along the Caribbean islands.

The drink has also appeared on the rosters of many bars where different sangria offerings are prepared for patrons who enjoy the quick buzz the cocktail induces. Yet, the charm of this global phenomenon lies in how much the drink has become popular at house parties because it really does taste best when homemade. With a straightforward recipe and the requirement of some basic ingredients, the allure of sangria for many budding mixologists remains the quickness and ease of preparing jug after jug of the cocktail at such intimate gatherings.


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