• Sangria vs Tinto de Verano: The Ultimate Beverage of Summer

    An easy way to distinguish between the two is the fruit on top.

    Sangria is wine (red, white or rose) mixed with Brandy, Triple Sec (sometimes), soda of some sort or Cava, and fresh fruit as garnish (apples, oranges, grapes, berries, peaches, etc) all over ice.  Usually this is made overnight or earlier in the day to allow the flavors to combine nicely before serving.  Everyone has a different way to make it.  And everyone is convinced theirs is the best.  In our Tapas Café we are incredibly proud of our Sangria.  Our Cafe Manager, Victoria, makes small batches with her special secret recipe and we’re convinced it is the best we’ve ever tried!  (see what I mean).  For the rest of us at home, we’ll include some easy recipes to try out below.

    Tinto de Verano (quite literally ‘red wine of summer’) is a much simpler combination of red wine and fizzy/soda-type drink over ice.  In Spain this is usually Casera, but you can substitute it state-side with Kas Limon soda from Despaña.  We’d suggest using an inexpensive bottle of fruity red wine with low to no oak influence.  Bodegas Sommos “Xiloca” is a perfect juicy Garnacha from Calatayud that tastes great on its own, but could be combined into a spritz with ease.

    Here are a few creative recipes to test out this summer.  Invite a few friends over and give one of these sunny “cocktails” a try!

    Mango-Peach Sangria with Costers del Sio “Petit Sios Blanco” a lovely blend of Viognier from Cataluñya.

    Strawberry & Lemoncello Rosé Sangria with Enanzo Rosado from Navarra.

    Blood Orange, Watermellon & Dark Cherry Sangria with Finca La Estacada Tinto Velasco 8 ½ (a juicy and rare red grape made in a chillable, fruit-forward, loveable way from Castilla-La Mancha.

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  • Mulled Wine with Rioja

    It’s that time of year…the nights are chilly and long.  We crave the cozy comfort of warm beverages in front of the fire (or wrapped up in blankets on the couch).  This is a simple, but heart-warming way, to beat the post-holiday slump and make January a little more festive.

    Rioja Mulled Wine

    Mulled Wine Recipe (serves 4-5) 

    • 1 bottle (750ml) fruity red wine (like young Rioja or Tempranillo)
    • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
    • 1/4 cup Brandy (optional, but much like in Sangria, this adds a little structure)
    • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
    • 8 whole cloves
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 star anise
    • Feeling fancy?  Optional garnish: slices of citrus, orange peel, float a star anise or cinnamon stick in the glass or add cranberries!

    Directions

    Combine all your ingredients in a stainless-steel pot and gently warm (not BOIL or you burn out all the alcohol) on medium heat to simmer out all the delicious flavors for 20 minutes (up to 3 hours).

    Strain, and serve warm to your guests.  Garnish as you like.  Incredibly easy, and so soul-warming.  Salud!

    (photo credit: Rioja Wine )

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