Every year on December 20, we celebrate National Sangria Day! The Spanish have spiked the punch and we’re definitely here for it. Whether you prefer it red or white, a nice chilled Sangria is no doubt refreshing, and instantly transports you to the sandy beaches of Spain in the Summer.
History of National Sangria Day
Early Greeks and Romans used to mix their wine with sugar, spices, and whatever else was on hand. These drinks were called “hippocras” and were sometimes heated like mulled wine. Hippocras is the common precedent of both mulled wine and sangria. These were consumed regularly because water at the time was filled with bacteria and unsafe to drink. Adding a splash of alcohol made the water drinkable, and mixing it with watered down wine gave it flavor. Sangria is specifically based on the traditional red wine punch popular across Europe for hundreds of years. The punch base would be claret — a British term for Bordeaux wine from Bordeaux, France. This red wine is traditionally made from a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot. Brandy and fruit would also be added for extra flavor. In the 1700s and 1800s, “Claret Cup Punch” would be present at parties of all sizes. It’s even the drink of choice for Jane Austen heroines.The Phoenicians and Romans planted miles of vineyards in Spain in 1,100 BC and 200 BC respectively. This prompted a very active wine shipping trade, with the wines of Spain quenching most of Rome’s thirst. Red grapes and fruits grew very well in Spain’s climate, and the locals began calling their wine punches Sangria, which means bloodletting in Spanish. In south Spain, the punch is often called zurra, and is created with peach or nectarine. The Spanish mostly base their sangria with red wines, but it can also be made with white wine, known as “sangria blanco.”
National Sangria Day timeline
Ancient Romans planted multiple vineyards along the Iberian Peninsula.
Moors conquered the Spanish peninsula and prohibited alcohol, meaning the Spanish wine business, and sangria business, faltered.
England and France made their own style of sangria using French grapes.
Spain's sponsored pavilion at the World's Fair in New York City featured sangria, marking the first official time Americans fell in love with the beverage.
National Sangria Day FAQs
What wine is best in sangria?
This is usually dealer’s choice as many people have a different pallet and preference. If you want to make a white sangria, however, it is recommended you keep away from wines that have a lot of oak to ensure the freshest taste for your beverage.
How do you drink sangria?
There are many different ways to drink sangria: you can drink it cold and with ice in the summer or warmed in the winter. Fruits need to be left to soak in the wine for several hours or overnight, so remember not to serve the drink immediately after making it.
What national day is December 20?
December 20 is National Sangria Day and National Ugly Sweater Day. Mark your calendars, because you don’t want to miss out on all the celebrating these two days entail!
National Sangria Day Activities
Add a little spice to your Wednesday night
This year, National Sangria Day lands on Wine Wednesday, a weekly tradition that many people partake in. Turn that glass of wine you'd normally be drinking into a tasty sangria. Just add some apples, grapes, peaches, and fresh cinnamon.
Host a sangria tasting night
Invite your friends and family over for a night that is sure to end in red smiles. Have everyone bring their favorite homemade sangria and share their recipes!
Have a white sangria brunch
White sangria is best enjoyed during a nice brunch. Host a brunch, and instead of mimosas, make the signature drink be a white sangria.
Why We Love National Sangria Day
It's good for the heart
Traditional sangria contains red wine, which is full of antioxidants, and is great for maintaining a healthy heart. Although many people are still on the fence about this claim, everyone agrees that drinking sangria with family and friends makes the heart full of joy.
There is a sangria for everyone
Whether you prefer a white wine over the traditional red, or can't drink wine overall, there are different variations of this classic beverage. Choose a red or white wine, or grape juice and just add your favorite fresh fruits to your liking. It's that simple.
It makes regular wine festive
Tired of drinking the same bottle of wine? Sangria calls for fresh fruit and spices, which adds a kick of flavor to that bottle of merlot you have collecting dust. Plus, the pieces of floating fruit make for a fancy looking drink.
National Sangria Day dates