I know plenty of books and Internet commentators will tell you strictly that you should only ever cook or mix cocktails with wines you would be happy to drink on their own. I thumb my (adorable button) nose at them. I’ve made this sangria twice in the last week with two different £3 bottles of Rioja, and I can assure you that using a more expensive bottle will simply be a waste of money – I cringe to imagine you stirring orange juice and sugar into a really good wine. On the other hand, it is worth buying a good lemonade for this drink (lemon soda like Sprite for Americans, not the fresh stuff). I like Schweppes.
You should make and drink your sangria in the same evening. If it hangs around for more than a few hours, the wine can oxidise and sour. The evening you make it, though, your sangria will be delicious: it’s a drink full of sunshine and goes very well with some salsa music and tapas.
To make 2 l of sangria, you’ll need:
1 bottle Rioja
3 large, juicy oranges
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 small wineglass brandy
You’ll need a 2 l jug, preferably with a wide neck, to mix this in.
Dissolve the sugar in the juice of two of the oranges in the bottom of the jug. Slice the remaining orange, skin and all, into thick pieces with the lime and the cored apple, and drop them into the jug. Pour over the bottle of wine and the brandy, then add a large handful of ice and carefully fill the jug to the top with lemonade. Stir and serve immediately.