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Summer Sangria, Part II: Leave the Skin on the Fruit

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August 22, 2011

Summer Sangria, Part II: Leave the Skin on the Fruit

By David Draper

It’s not every day I get an “atta boy” from my editors for a blog post, especially one where I poke fun at their delicate, citified sensibilities, but last week’s sangria post seems to have struck a chord. Even a few readers chimed in, giving me the kind of warm fuzzies I normally only feel after a few pint jars of the fruity, fizzy cocktail.

In addition to the compliments, there was also a good question from Wild Chef reader nuclear_fisher:

David, if you revisit this post today I've got a question for you. We did make this last night and the girlfriend and I got into a debate about whether or not to leave the skin on the fruit. I felt we should have peeled them to get more flavor out but she was insistent that they should not be peeled because it looks better. Either way it was pretty good, but what do you do skin on or off?

The easy answer can be read between the lines of fluckeye’s comment: Sangria makes my wife happy, which makes my life easier. In other words, nuclear_fisher, your girlfriend is right. All joking aside, the question got me thinking. Personally, I leave the skin on, although I don’t have a good reason why other than it’s easier. After a bit of research, including an informal poll among the bartenders at my old college haunts in Lincoln, Neb., (Most of who said, “Man up and drink a beer.”), leaving the skin on seems to be the consensus.

From a flavor standpoint, the argument could be made either way. Leaving the skin on adds that citrusy bite from the oils in the lemon, lime, and orange peels. Removing them makes it easier and less messy to eat the fruit. There is some validation to the thought that the white pith could add an unwanted bitterness, but I think it would take a few days for that to really emerge and, frankly, sangria doesn’t last that long around my house.

There is a compromise, however. If you want to peel your citrus—either for ease of eating or if you plan on keeping it in the fridge for a few days—zest it first and add the shavings to the pitcher with the meat of the fruit to get the best of both worlds.

Comments (8)

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from nuclear_fisher wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Haha, Touche. Thanks for the info. We had compromised with most on and some skinned. It lasted 3 nights in our fridge and by day 3 the fruit that I had skinned was considerably mushy-er. Next time I'll just say yes dear, and leave all the peels on.

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from MichFish86 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I made two pitchers of sangria using your recipe for my wedding rehearsal cook-out last Friday night and it was a huge hit with everyone. I couldn't believe how much of the beer supply went untouched that evening!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DANO wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I made your sangria this weekend for a pool party. It was a big hit. For the 2nd batch of the night I felt it was a little to weak for my taste, so I kicked mine up with some Canadian Mist. At the time it seemed like a good idea...

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from Double D wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

DANO, I like the way you think.

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from Hornd wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Zesting the fruit is a good idea. Never thought to use strawberries either. I guess that opens it up to blackberries and raspberries also! I always learn something from these blogs.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Tried this the other night but in smaller quantities. The wife and I agreed, pretty good. We used peaches, which was fine, but I do believe citrus would be better.

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from VAHunter540 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Draper, Sounds like Romano could use a pitcher or three of this to help ease his mind about his boat. Hook a brother up!

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from HeidelbergJaeger wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Here's my friend's Sangria recipe that comes from Valencia, Spain:

4x 1Liter bottles of low quality red wine (don't use the good stuff, the local variety bargain bottle is good enough)
2x 2Liter bottles of Sprite
1 Lb Granulated sugar
2x lemons
2x white peaches
2x nectarines
2x bananas
2x valencia oranges (they are less pithy and better than navel oranges)
ground cinnamon
cointreau 1849
10 Qt bucket with pouring spout (or a smaller container to pour into wine bottles)
wooden spoon
funnel

Prepare your working area (preferably outside in reach of a hose) and make sure that you have a sharp knife and a good non-slip cutting surface. The juice from the fruit make holding a blade a dangerous task. cut the rind from the lemons in a spiral and place inside the bucket. Pour the 1lb bag of sugar over the lemons and press the sugar into the rinds with the wooden spoon. You should start to see a sugary syrup form as the rind releases some of the acid and juice from the inside pith. You can squeeze a little lemon juice into the bucket if you're not seeing the sugar dissolve into syrup.

When you have your syrup going, add 2x bottles of red wine. follow with 1x 2liter bottle of sprite. You'll see the carbonation react immediately and bubbles will form. Keep stirring your mixture of wine, sprite, sugar and lemon rinds.

skin (or don't - your preference) all fruit and cut into smaller bite sized pieces (small enough to fit through the opening of the wine bottles) or leave larger if you plan on using a carafe. When all fruit is cut, add to the wine mixture. Once added, continue to stir and prepare to add the remaining wine and sprite. Add the remaining wine and sprite to your mixture. When all ingredients are in the bucket, stir and gently add the cinnamon to taste. This is the fine print- too much cinnamon can ruin the mix, so go slow, taste often and make sure you don't have to drive anywhere.

Once you're satisfied with the mix, re-use the wine bottles and sprite bottles to store your sangria. A smaller container with a pour spout can be invaluable here. The funnel will cut down on spillage, but may need to be removed to add fruit. As the fruit hasn't absorbed any of the liquids, it will stay at the top of the bottle. Just remember to fill the bottles only about 3/4s full because you'll still have to add the cointreau. The reason that the cointreau goes last is that being 40% alcohol, you may want to temper how much goes into your already 12-15 percent alcohol mix. Plus, pouring the cointreau in last ensures that the fruit gets to act like aggregate as the cointreau filters through. Once you've emptied the cointreau into all bottles (and probably to the 1/2L or 1L left in your bucket), cap or cork them and set them to chill. serve with ice and forget the rest of the day.¡Ay Caramba!

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from MichFish86 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I made two pitchers of sangria using your recipe for my wedding rehearsal cook-out last Friday night and it was a huge hit with everyone. I couldn't believe how much of the beer supply went untouched that evening!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Haha, Touche. Thanks for the info. We had compromised with most on and some skinned. It lasted 3 nights in our fridge and by day 3 the fruit that I had skinned was considerably mushy-er. Next time I'll just say yes dear, and leave all the peels on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DANO wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

I made your sangria this weekend for a pool party. It was a big hit. For the 2nd batch of the night I felt it was a little to weak for my taste, so I kicked mine up with some Canadian Mist. At the time it seemed like a good idea...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

DANO, I like the way you think.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hornd wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Zesting the fruit is a good idea. Never thought to use strawberries either. I guess that opens it up to blackberries and raspberries also! I always learn something from these blogs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Tried this the other night but in smaller quantities. The wife and I agreed, pretty good. We used peaches, which was fine, but I do believe citrus would be better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from VAHunter540 wrote 2 years 34 weeks ago

Draper, Sounds like Romano could use a pitcher or three of this to help ease his mind about his boat. Hook a brother up!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HeidelbergJaeger wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Here's my friend's Sangria recipe that comes from Valencia, Spain:

4x 1Liter bottles of low quality red wine (don't use the good stuff, the local variety bargain bottle is good enough)
2x 2Liter bottles of Sprite
1 Lb Granulated sugar
2x lemons
2x white peaches
2x nectarines
2x bananas
2x valencia oranges (they are less pithy and better than navel oranges)
ground cinnamon
cointreau 1849
10 Qt bucket with pouring spout (or a smaller container to pour into wine bottles)
wooden spoon
funnel

Prepare your working area (preferably outside in reach of a hose) and make sure that you have a sharp knife and a good non-slip cutting surface. The juice from the fruit make holding a blade a dangerous task. cut the rind from the lemons in a spiral and place inside the bucket. Pour the 1lb bag of sugar over the lemons and press the sugar into the rinds with the wooden spoon. You should start to see a sugary syrup form as the rind releases some of the acid and juice from the inside pith. You can squeeze a little lemon juice into the bucket if you're not seeing the sugar dissolve into syrup.

When you have your syrup going, add 2x bottles of red wine. follow with 1x 2liter bottle of sprite. You'll see the carbonation react immediately and bubbles will form. Keep stirring your mixture of wine, sprite, sugar and lemon rinds.

skin (or don't - your preference) all fruit and cut into smaller bite sized pieces (small enough to fit through the opening of the wine bottles) or leave larger if you plan on using a carafe. When all fruit is cut, add to the wine mixture. Once added, continue to stir and prepare to add the remaining wine and sprite. Add the remaining wine and sprite to your mixture. When all ingredients are in the bucket, stir and gently add the cinnamon to taste. This is the fine print- too much cinnamon can ruin the mix, so go slow, taste often and make sure you don't have to drive anywhere.

Once you're satisfied with the mix, re-use the wine bottles and sprite bottles to store your sangria. A smaller container with a pour spout can be invaluable here. The funnel will cut down on spillage, but may need to be removed to add fruit. As the fruit hasn't absorbed any of the liquids, it will stay at the top of the bottle. Just remember to fill the bottles only about 3/4s full because you'll still have to add the cointreau. The reason that the cointreau goes last is that being 40% alcohol, you may want to temper how much goes into your already 12-15 percent alcohol mix. Plus, pouring the cointreau in last ensures that the fruit gets to act like aggregate as the cointreau filters through. Once you've emptied the cointreau into all bottles (and probably to the 1/2L or 1L left in your bucket), cap or cork them and set them to chill. serve with ice and forget the rest of the day.¡Ay Caramba!

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