In 1964, New York City hosted the World’s Fair. This celebration of global diversity gave the nations that participated an opportunity to share their unique culture with those who attended. The delegation from Spain brought their fruity wine drink known as Sangria, and American parties haven’t been the same since.

Europeans had been familiar with this red wine punch for centuries. It is made by using Bordeaux wine from France, a combination of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot grapes. Today’s punches generally contain a mixture of wine, fruit juices, soda water, pieces of whole fruit and sometimes brandy. For best results, you should chill your holiday sangria overnight. When it comes time to serve it, add ice and garnish with fresh fruit. If possible, use a pitcher with a pinched spout to prevent the sliced fruit from making a big splash into your guests’ glasses.

No matter what you plan to serve at your next gathering, sangria can be an excellent accompaniment. For summer fun, you can add warm weather fruits such as peaches, strawberries or blueberries. If the snow is flying, pears, plums and apples can furnish their own unique flavors. Whatever the time of year, you can tailor this punch to your tastes or to whatever fruits you have on hand. Just remember to keep it cold, and use a relatively high-quality red wine that is low in tannins. These naturally occurring compounds found in the skins, stems and seeds of grapes can add a bitter or astringent taste to your punch, and they do not chill well.

Only a few decades have passed since sangria was introduced in the United States. Nevertheless, party-goers throughout the country have embraced it and made it their own. Why not serve a delicious, fruity pitcher at your next gathering?

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