For our Madrid stopover, we booked an hotel near the airport in Barajas (a small town near the Madrid airport). The shuttle bus driver had recommended Campanilla Restaurante, A Tapa Bar and Restaurant, when he dropped us off at our hotel. Pepe, the owner of this wonderful family restaurant, demonstrated tableside how to make his “secret” Spanish Sangria and also made suggestions for ordering food for the table.
First, there is no such thing as traditional or authentic sangria. You can always spot the tourists in a bar in southern Spain, as they are the ones drinking sangria. To the Spanish, this is a party drink and is there for one reason – to get you drunk very cheaply. Thus, this drink is aimed almost exclusively at tourists and is charge appropriately. Sangria is served throughout Spain in the summer months. In the northern areas, it is considered a summer drink . In the eastern and southern areas of Spain, the drink is served all year. Sangria recipes are not complicated and they vary from place to place, depending on what is on hand and what people prefer. There is no science to making sangria – just do what tastes best!
Please check out my Spanish Paella Dinner Menu (with recipes) using this delicious Pepe’s ‘Secret’ Spanish Sangria Recipe.
History of Spanish Sangria:
Sangria takes its name from the Spanish word “sangre” which means “blood” and refers to the blood-red color of the drink. The original Sangaree (or Sangre of Sangoree) was a punch documented in London as far back as 1736. The drink spread to the Spanish-speaking world and became known as “sangria” where it is based on Spanish wine. In an article published in the Forth Worth Gazette newspaper, June 7, 1892, there was an excerpt that read:
“Her servants hand around trays of glasses filled with sparkling water or with what is called sangria – a very refreshing draught composed of equal portions of wine and water with sugar, ad libitum, and sufficient lemon juice to give it a pungent flavor.”
Sangria is related to wine punches served throughout Europe. It is closely connected with Spain as beer is with Germany and tequilla with Mexico. In early years, the people of Spain would dilute the wine with water. They later diluted the wine with fruit juice to make the taste even richer and to decrease the concentration of alcohol. The real Spanish sangria is called tinto de verano.
Pepe’s Secret Spanish Sangria Recipe:
I really like this version of sangria as it is very smooth and delicious tasting!