It is scientifically impossible to stare at a pitcher of sangria and frown. Tears of happiness flow down one cheek as we see those cut up pieces of oranges and apples. The murky red liquid brings out the sunshine in our drinking hearts. Sangria is a Spanish and Portuguese word that translates into “Blood” because of its dark red color. It had been served across Europe for hundreds of years being called, “Claret punch.” Claret being the British term for Bordeaux after Bordeaux, France a popular region for wine. After hundreds of years of diluting wine, the Europeans finally introduced it to the U.S. at the 1964 world fair.

The sexiest thing about those Sangria pitchers is the pinched lip at the top. That beautiful curve traps all the fruit that is added into the wine. Oranges, berries or kiwi, it can really be any combo of your favorite fruits. It’s ok to even skip the fruit and use fruity juices. There are no rules to making your Sangria mixture. An outdoorsy, listening to music, chillaxing in a hammock kinda Sangria could be red wine (yes … you can use white if you want), throw in some fruit for sweetener and simply add some seltzer water. Boom, you are Sangriaing it up in no time. If you want an indoors, air-conditioned, good-conversation-while-catching-a-buzz kinda Sangria go with your favorite red wine, brandy and use rum as the sweetener on top.

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This is how Hank makes his at The Monks Vineyard. A small peaceful wine store located on George St. in downtown St. Augustine. The bar inside is small and can fit only four people, but the vibe is loose and peaceful. Hank doesn’t waste his Sangria time on fruit or juices. He is after flavor and a buzz. The dark red color of his Sangrias feel more traditional and the taste is rich and full — the opposite of most diluted sunny spritzer Sangrias. The front patio at The Monks Vineyard gives you a chance to do some stellar people watching while reflecting on the awesomeness of solid Sangria.

Want to try making your own? Check out our recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • half an apple chopped into small pieces
  • half an orange sliced into small pieces
  • 4 tbsp of brown (or cane) sugar
  • 3/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup of Marlin & Barrel Bearing light rum
  • 1 bottle of dry Spanish red wine
  • 1 cup of ice to chill

Instructions:

  1. Combine the fruit and sugar in a large pitcher and muddle
  2. Add in the juice, rum and brandy, muddling again to combine
  3. Stir in the red wine and combine mixture
  4. Dump in the ice and stir to chill, then garnish with an orange slice.