Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Family Sangria Tasting!

Sangria is a great alternative to wine in the summer and something I like to make at home. Last year while on vacation with my family, we had a group sangria recipe taste test. So this year when we were all together again, we had our second annual event.

My aunt Mayanne used to be a bartender so she took the lead on the mixing. We started with a white merlot and a pinot grigio and concocted three different sangria recipes from each. I recorded the recipes but we started from scratch, just thinking about what would go best together. We did not tell any of the taste testers what was in each recipe; they judged on taste alone.

I am including recipes but please note they are approximate and we used two liter bottles of wine. All of these could have cut fruit added (apples, oranges, lemons, limes) and should be served cold over ice.
About 10 of my family members rated the recipes on a scale of one to five, with five being the best and gave us their comments.

Winter Sangria
While sangria is typically a summer drink, we used Yukon Jack Cinnamon in this recipe to give it an extra kick.
One-third bottle white merlot
Half can lemon-lime seltzer
One-third can cranberry-lime seltzer
Large splash triple sec
One-third to half a nip Yukon Jack Cinnamon
Rating: This recipe scored a 2.6.
Overall, most taste testers thought the spicy finish was a little off-putting but would be good at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

White Merlot Sangria
I couldn’t come up with a creative name for this one, but it was fruity and classic like most sangrias you get at a restaurant. This one would be great with some fruit after sitting for an hour or so.
On-third bottle white merlot
Large splash triple sec
Half can lemon-lime seltzer
Half nip blackberry brandy
Juice from a quarter slice of each-lemon and lime
Rating: This recipe scored a 4.
Many of the taste testers called this “true sangria” that was “refreshing and light.” My cousin Lauren said, “Nailed it!”

Blue Cab
Equal parts white merlot and cabernet sauvignon
Three-fourths nip blueberry vodka
Rating: This recipe scored a 2.4
The taste testers loved the nose on this recipe. My cousin’s husband Chris said, “This puts a smile on your face just smelling it,” but felt it had too dry of a finish to be called sangria and was not sweet. “It tastes like cheap red wine,” my brother’s girlfriend Brittany said. While my aunt and I agreed this wasn’t the most usual sangria recipe, we really liked it.

Fruit Splash
One-third bottle pinot grigio
One apple, cut up
Pomegranate liqueur
Splash peach schnapps
One-third can cranberry-lime seltzer
Rating: This sangria scored a 2.9.
While my aunt and I found this sangria slightly plain and boring, the taste testers called it “refreshing,” “tart” and “crisp,” yet my uncle Mike said he “wouldn’t think of this as sangria.”

One-third bottle pinot grigio
One half to three-fourths UV Salty Watermelon Vodka nip
One-third can Fresca
Half a lime-squeezed
Rating: This was the overall favorite recipe, scoring a 4.5. It was not only a pretty pink hue in the container, which would be great for parties, but my family felt it was also a perfect drink for the beach. “This is what a sangria should be,” my uncle Mike said, while my brother’s girlfriend joked that she would “bathe in it.” Even though we only had one recipe left, someone else commented, “It’s going to be hard to beat this one.”

Sour Patch Sangria
One-third bottle pinot grigio
1/8 tube Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade (use sparingly!)
Three-fourths can Limonata
Lime wedges-squeezed
Rating: This recipe closed out the tasting with a 3.6. Only my family members who like sour, like my cousin Lauren who gets credit for the name, liked this recipe. “I love it, but I like sour,” said my mom who rated it a five, while my cousin Katie said, “It’s tart, and makes you pucker.” My brother’s girlfriend agreed and gave it a four. It was too sour for my cousin and aunt, while my uncle said it was “alright.” My brother said it had too much grapefruit.

Overall, Fruitilicious took the top spot this year and Blue Cab took the bottom with the group. The key to all of this is don’t be afraid to try something new and different, according to your own personal taste. I like to experiment so something like this is the perfect opportunity, especially if you come out with something everyone likes.

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