A drink for all seasons

Sangria is more than just a popular drink. While its origins are sketchy, wine-lovers' attraction towards the drink trumps all.

“Wine. It’s in my veins, and I can’t get out,” goes a famous quote by Burgess Meredith, a renowned American actor and director. It’s a quote many around the world swear by, but India has taken long to connect with.

Undeniably underrated, wine has been one of the least consumed drinks for a while in the Indian market. The good news, however, is that its popularity is on the rise now. A slight shift in the drinking patterns of Indians has also been noticed. One could attribute it to the increase in spending power, the exposure that’s come along thanks to multiple reasons, including international travel, as well as the “let’s give it a shot” kind of a general attitude of millenials.

And aiding this shift have been the many long-standing wineries in India, who have left absolutely no stone unturned in creating awareness about the versatility of this drink.

However, while these trends have their own shares of ups and downs, a demand that’s remained constant amongst Indians has been the thirst and desire for Sangria. While the wine cognoscenti might shudder at the thought of this concoction, sangria is unbeatable in its popularity and is possibly the ultimate fruity and zesty drink, making it a go-to beverage for any occasion.

It derives its name from the Latin word Sangre, which means blood. The term was most likely coined to reflect the colour of the beverage, and more so because back then, sangria was primarily prepared utilising red wine.

While Sangria’s roots have never been accurately traced, versions of history say that the drink probably originated in the Middle Ages, at a time where water was unsafe, and drinking alcoholic beverages could prevent ailments. Legend also has it that its popularity can be traced to the Spanish World Area during 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The very occasion is widely believed to have gifted the world this wonderful drink, and made history. It’s then believed to have quickly gained international fame, paving the way for wider consumption. In India, though, the concept is still fairly new, and only made its way to menus very recently.

Traditionally, sangria consists of red wine and chopped fruit, often with added ingredients such as orange juice and brandy. However, there’s not one sacrosanct recipe for making Sangria. The drink can be twisted and modified using a medley of different ingredients such as apples, pomegranates, pomegranate juice, peaches and more.

This variability makes the drink suitable for diverse taste buds, where the concentration of ingredients can be attuned to your personal preference. A key criterion here is to let the mixture age, preferably overnight, to allow the flavours to fuse together, leaving behind a smooth blend.

Another vital aspect — often overlooked by enthusiasts and restaurants alike — is the quality and potency of wine. People are often fooled by the belief that other ingredients will make up for the taste of wine, often ignoring the fact that it still remains the foundation of creating a desirable concoction.

While creating the cocktail, another suggestion I would personally attest to, is to make your sangria from scratch. Don’t rely on readymade premixes. While this is in no way to undermine premixes, it underlines the thought that personal preparation simply allows for more control. This way, you’re sure to prepare a drink that’s the perfect blend of sweetness and strength, and will leave you refreshed.
Karishma is the winemaker at the Grover Zampa Vineyards

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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