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Sangria Makes a Splashby Julie Goldstein, Bull & Buddha

Though wine, fruit, and spirits are certainly enjoyable independently, when steeped together these three base ingredients can be transformed into an aromatic and profound cocktail. The bold wine mellows as it becomes saturated with smooth fruit flavors. The spirits add another level of flavor and a higher alcohol content. Spices can also further enhance the delightful complexity of the blend, culminating in the beverage known as sangria.

Around 300 B.C., Romans who resided on the southern coast of Spain would cool off with a refreshing cocktail of red wine laced with local fruits and spices. The Romans brought the grapes used to make the wine from Italy when they first migrated to Spain, where sangria originated. The etymology of sangria has two possible origins—the first and most widely known meaning stems from sangre, the Spanish word for blood, alluding to the traditionally deep red color of sangria. An alternative explanation to the root of sangria may derive from sakkari, a Sanskrit word that translates to “sugared wine.” Sangria was first introduced to the United States at the 1964 World’s Fair and has been a popular summer cocktail here ever since.

There are many recipes for traditional Spanish sangria. Today, most restaurants and families have their own distinctive versions, using what is readily available as well as their favorite ingredients to enhance the flavor of the wine, from peaches and berries to cinnamon and nutmeg. A common misconception about sangria is that inferior wines are used, with the fruit acting as a mask to the unsavory flavor. Good quality wines should always be preferred; much like a drinkable wine for cooking is best, a drinkable wine for cocktailing is as well. Sangria is typically made with red Spanish wines such as Rioja, scented with sherry, oranges and spices. Sugar may also be added for those with a particularly sweet tooth. White and sparkling wines (like Spanish cava) make for a pleasant and refreshing beverage. A playful and versatile drink, sangria can even be a topic of dialogue at a party depending on how interesting the wine and aromatics are.

Bull and Buddha is adding a Summer Sangria to our menu, using seasonal berries, and sake for an Asian twist. Try our version or get creative at your next party with fruit and herbs that are sure to make a splash with your guests.

Bull and Buddha Sangria

Serves 4

1 star fruit, sliced crosswise 1 blood orange, cut into segments or thin slices ½ pint blueberries 5 oz Champagne or sparkling wine 4 oz elderflower liqueur 4 oz sake (of good quality) 1 oz club soda

Place all or some of the fruit on the bottom of a pitcher. Pour the sake and elderflower liqueur over the fruit and for best results, let sit overnight. When ready to drink, pour the champagne and club soda over, and serve. Garnish with more fruit if desired.

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