As Spanish as bull fighters and flamenco dancers, Sangria is what most people think of when you ask them to name a Spanish drink. A bit touristy today in Spain, but ever so popular in the United States. It is featured in restaurants everywhere and is a delighful summer thirst-quenching party drink. Best described as a sweetened punch-like wine with lots of fruit and lots of carbs! We now have the perfect Low Carb Red Sangria recipe that has all the taste of the original and with only 3.8 carbs per glass.
Traditionally, it is served in beautifully hand painted pitchers with a pinched lip at the top to hold back the pieces of fruit when pouring. This avoids the mess of a “plop” of fruit or ice in your glass or lap. Classic hand painted Sangria pitchers can be found and purchased from our favorite Spanish import site, La Tienda (sold through Amazon). If you love Sangria this would be a perfect addition to your cupboard. Or you can do as many waiters do and simply use a spoon to block the fruit and ice from exiting your pitcher when filling your glass – either way, the taste of a great Sangria over ice is delicious.
Cheaper versions of Sangria are often called “Tinto de Verano” in Spain. One of the main differences is that the latter is made with a lemon-lime soda. Our recipe is similar to a “Tinto de Verano.”
The key ingredient is red wine. We recommend a full bodied Spanish Rioja made from the Tempranillo grape. It is a black grape that is native to Spain and Portugal. An early ripening grape (thus its name), it is often blended with other grapes as it has a distinctive berry flavor. That is why it is perfect for Sangria. It is called Spain’s “noble grape” and has been transplanted everywhere that has a hotter climate. The thick skin stands up to heat.
Tempranillo grapes are easy to find in most Spanish Rioja wine and most of those are moderately priced. Although more expensive full-bodied Rioja’s are available, we find that mixing with juices and sodas to create a punch-like Sangria only requires a modestly priced, yet tasty wine.
We like to mix a little brandy in our Sangria for more punch. Some recipes will also call for vodka instead of brandy. Either way, these can be eliminated for mixing a Sangria with less alcohol content.
For our fruit flavor we use two different water enhancers. A berry flavored and orange flavored enhancer will add the fruity taste you need without any carbs. It is the secret to cutting the carbs from a traditional Sangria. We also like to use EZ Sweetz to sweeten our drink (or Swerve if you prefer). The Sucralose drops work well, are inexpensive, and also have “no carbs.”
We do use fruit to flavor our Sangria and also as a garnish. It does make the presentation perfect. Any fruit will do, except we like to suggest lemons, limes, and berries as they contain less carbs. The secret is to allow your fruit to meld into your recipe for 30 minutes in the refrigerator and not overnight as some recipes state. Your fruit flavor comes from the water enhancers so actually the fresh fruit can be used only as a garnish, if you prefer.
The spritzer-like taste for Sangria often comes from club soda, we prefer to use diet Sprite or any lemon-lime flavored soft drink. This should be added right before serving and should be cold.
We do not add ice to our pitcher as we do not want to water down the drink, but filling each glass with ice before serving is recommended. Sangria should be served cold and refreshing!
Low Carb Red Sangria – Perfect with Albóndigas or Manchego Cheese!
A wonderfully refreshing summer drink served with Spanish tapas or our favorite Albóndigas, you will enjoy this recipe! It is also perfect when served with chunks of Manchego cheese or sliced Spanish chorizo at any gathering of friends or family. This recipe is as tasty as any original and it earns the label Tasty Low Carb! Let us know what you think and remember the carbs are so low!
- In a large pitcher mix the red wine, brandy, sweetener, and water enhancers. If using Swerve or Erythritol stir until dissolved.
- Add berries, apple slices, lemon slices, and lime slices to the pitcher and refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill.
- When ready to serve, add the diet lemon lime soda to the pitcher and stir. Taste for sweetness and adjust accordingly.
- Garnish with lemon or lime wedge, pour into wine glasses and serve.