Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
As promised, here's the sangria blog entry featuring recipes, recommendations and more. But first - be aware that Manitoba's Liquor Marts are closed Monday, August 3rd. Winnipeg's private wine stores will be open at their discretion, likely on holiday hours - same with beer vendors across the province.
A couple of the sangria recipes I received were almost identical to the one that ran in Saturday's column, with some slight variations - you can feel free to use soda water instead of ginger ale (if you don't want as much sweetness) or a different type/quantity of liqueur/spirit than brandy (if you want different flavours or something with a bit more kick).
Those weighing in with local recommendations had some great tips on where to get great sangria in this city's restaurants. Fude Inspired Cuisine & Wine Bar was popular - apparently their sangrias (they make a few, including one using local fruit wine) are quite good. La Fiesta Cafecito also got a shout-out from Leslie, another reader. Heck, even if their sangria tasted like bath water (which I'm sure it doesn't), I'd recommend eating there.
Wendy, who also sent in a recipe (see below), said "in Winnipeg, I actually discovered a good sangria at Hu's on First (Asian Bistro), and the one at Bar Italia is excellent (not on the menu, you have to ask for it)." She added "While living in Washington DC, I discovered this wine/tapas bar called La Tasca, with 12 different types of sangria (see the menu here); the Cava Sangria, Agua de sevilla and the sangria blanca were my favourites. I've been experimenting but haven't been able to get them to taste exactly as the ones from La Tasca yet." Very cool — thanks, Wendy.
Personally, I remember the sangria at Basil's/The Tap and Grill as being spectacular, although that may have had something to do with their gorgeous patio set behind the lounge. I really haven't tried many others since.
If you're in the mood for sangria but aren't inclined to make it, I'd recommend trying out the Real Sangria — it's made in Spain and is as good a pre-made sangria as you'll find. Try it on its own or throw in some fruit to liven up the party. It's available at private wine stores in both 750ml and 1500ml formats. Their website is super festive.
1 750 ml bottle of white wine
about five cups of peeled, seedless watermelon
1/2 cup of Grand Marnier
1/2 cup simple syrup
1 lime cut into wheels
1 lemon cut into wheels
Puree the watermelon in a blender then pass through a sieve, reserving liquid and discarding solids. Combine with remaining ingredients, stirring to mix, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
I've subbed tequila blanco for the Grand Marnier in the past. Also, place a bunch of grapes (or blueberries) on a sheet pan and place in the freezer for a couple of hours--use them as ice cubes so when they defrost, they don't water down your drink. Lastly, top each drink with a hit of soda water for a little sparkle if you so desire...
Sherri sent me the following recipe which changes up both the type of soda and quantity of brandy, and cuts the frozen lemonade from my original recipe - this would make for a very fun little sangria:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brandy
1 750 ml bottle of red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Slice fruit and put in a closed container with the brandy and sugar. Let stand for at least an hour (prefer overnight). Add wine, lemon juice and stir. Let sit another hour. Before serving add ice cubes and soda water to taste.
Wendy sent me a recipe similar to the one in the column as well — I imagine you could nix the two tablespoons of sugar if you used lemon-lime soda or ginger ale instead of club soda...
Perfect Easy Sangria
1 750 ml bottle of red wine
2 ounces of brandy
1 can club soda or lemon-lime soda or ginger ale
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lemon, 1 lime, and 1 orange, sliced
any kind of berries and/or pineapple bits
Last but certainly not least, my good friend Craig Pinhey, a drinks writer based on Canada's east coast, provided a very nice sangria recipe with some specific recommendations on wine and brandy (although his selections may be hard to find in Manitoba):
Sangria at Home
1 750 ml bottle of any decent dry red wine, such as any Marechal Foch from Atlantic Canada
1/4 cup brandy, such as Winegarden Estates Johnny Ziegler from New Brunswick
1/4 cup fruit liqueur (e.g. cherry brandy, orange liqueur)
1 cup of orange juice
1.5 cups of lemon lime soda
2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp of fresh lime juice
approximately six sliced fruit, definitely including citrus fruit, such as lemons, limes and oranges... but don't be afraid to add peaches, melons, strawberries and kiwi fruit.
Mix everything together, adding sugar if necessary. Be careful not to make it too sweet. Either use simple syrup or make a solution of sugar dissolved in warm water.
Once you are happy with the flavour, cover and chill overnight in the fridge, allowing the fruit flavours to infuse into the punch.
On the next day, it is ready to serve, preferably over ice in a wine cup.
So there you go — what are you waiting for? There's no tastier or funner way of getting your daily fruit intake than with a little sangria. It's way more fun than a pre-infused lime-flavoured beer — trust me!
Enjoy, have a great long weekend, don't drink and drive, and go Blue!
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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson
When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.
The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).
Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.
In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.
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