In Michigan, after a long winter, nothing could be lovelier than a beautiful, warm spring day. But one thing that could make it the teeniest bit more beautiful would be that summery punch concoction known as sangria. The topic arose during a recent visit with Claudia Tyagi, one of Michigan's three master sommeliers. Tyagi offered this playful “everything but the kitchen sink” recipe, with rough guidelines where others would have specific measurements and restrictions.
Tyagi loves making Sangria and doesn’t have a preference for white or red, choosing instead to start with whatever is in her refrigerator or her home. As Tyagi is continually tasting wines and opening things, she grabs whatever wine has been open for a day or two and starts with those, which may have lost their initial freshness and nuance. The rest of the recipe is tailored to the wine that goes in the bowl. For example, if she grabs lighter, sweeter white wines, or light drinking reds, she adjusts the sweetness of the other ingredients. Heavy red wines, such as a Syrah or Barolo call for additional juice or sugar in the punch to balance the dryness of the wine. Below is Tyagi's “recipe” to make your own Sangria at home.
Claudia Tyagi's Unconventional Sangria
For the punch:
2 to 3 bottles of wine, depending on desired quantity of punch – use whatever is open!
¼ (or less) of a cup Fruit Punch Schnapps per bottle of wine used. Tyagi uses the cheap stuff, as in literally Pucker Fruit Punch Flavor. Adjust the amount of schnapps depending on the sweetness of the wine.
Various fruit juices to taste. Tyagi likes using orange juice and again, this recipe is all about tasting and adjusting, so add juice in small quantities until you like the flavor.
Top off with either:
Again, which soda you choose to add bubbles depends on the overall sweetness desired. If the punch tastes dry, Tyagi adds 7-Up, if she wants to make it more tart, she adds Squirt, and if it’s just right, but she wants a bit of fizz, she adds club soda.
For the fruit:
Tyagi always tops her Sangria with plenty of berries and melon balls or pieces. She likes to soak the fruit in a marinade of wine overnight before adding it to the punch just before serving.