With any cuisine, there is history behind many of the dishes. With Mexican food in particular, you will find some of the most extensive reaches when it comes to digging into the past. From street tacos to guacamole, nearly every dish comes with a story. However, it is not only Mexican food that has a story, but also the drink.
In preparation of National Sangria Day, your favorite Amherst restaurant, El Arroyo, is delving into one of the most beloved Mexican drinks – the past, the present, and the endless possibilities that sangria provides.
With an active shipping trade during 200BC, the Romans were one of the biggest consumers of Spanish red wine. Why wine? Well, during these times, much of the water was unhealthy to drink. Thus, wine and wine punches became the go-to when looking to savor a thirst. Beyond the addition of fresh fruit, spices like cinnamon were also incorporated into the punch. It’s important to note that many of the wines in earlier times were much less potent than what we drink today, yet nonetheless delicious.
Traditional sangrias use wine from the Tempranillo grape. This robust black grape makes some of the finest full-bodied wines native to Spain. With undertones of berry and fig, the woody notes are deep and savory, providing the perfect base for a sangria mixture.
While red wines remain the most popular choice for a sangria punch, it’s not uncommon to find white wine options as well. For instance, Sauvignon Blanc contains citrus notes that pairs perfectly with certain sangria blends. However, the distinct flavor can also work against a recipe that contains high amounts of lime and lemon.
Finding the perfect combination of wine and ingredients takes a little know-how in the balancing category. And, this is without considering the other ingredients that often added, like brandy.
As mentioned, choosing the base is the beginning of your sangria journey. Does the day call for white or red? If you’re not sure which direction to go, consider the atmosphere it will be served. If you’re serving sangria at a party filled with appetizers and munchie food, either could suffice. Whites tend to go better during the summer months where a full-bodied red is a nice addition to the cooler fall and winter seasons. If your sangria is paired with dinner, a traditional red blend is generally the way to go.
Here at El Arroyo, our family couldn’t be more excited to celebrate National Sangria Day with our guests! Be sure to stop into your favorite Amherst restaurant on December 20th and have a glass (or two) of sangria to kick off the holiday season! We look forward to seeing you!