Sangria is a sweetened wine concoction traditionally served during Spanish fiestas and other very informal occasions. It would be the equivalent of other mass-produced alcoholic punches such as "Grog" or "Hunch Punch".
Cheap red or white wine is combined with various fruits, alcoholic spirits, lemonade, sugar, and sometimes cinnamon or other dessert-suitable spices to form sangria, which means "blood" in Spanish.
Traditional Spanish sangria is considered a social drink, not a proper mixed drink to be served in upscale bars and restaurants. The cheapest red or white (sangria blanca) wine can be used as a base for the rest of the ingredients, which are often soaked in an alcoholic spirit such as brandy, cointreau or whiskey overnight.
Some sangria recipes eliminate the addition of spirits altogether, depending on the intended audience. The fruits used in sangria are generally inexpensive but flavorful: apples, oranges, kiwi fruit, bananas and/or peaches.
On the day the sangria is to be served, the red wine is poured into a larger container, such as a punch bowl or a clean metal tub. A glass of the chosen alcoholic spirits is then blended into the wine, followed by the fruit and lemonade mix.
The sugar and spices can be added to taste, although it can take a significant amount of sugar to fully sweeten a large container of inexpensive red wine and spiked fruits. Ice and carbonated water can be added just before serving to give the sangria a little more interest, although the carbonation is generally optional.
Sangria can also be found in pre-mixed bottles on beverage store shelves, although purists say the only authentic sangria is made by hand. Many Spanish bars only serve a tepid version of sangria to tourists who want to believe they are enjoying a traditional Spanish beverage.
True sangria is primarily served during very informal occasions, since the wines and liquors used are intentionally cheap. and the fruits and spices are primarily used to mask the beverage's inferior flavor and high alcohol content.