Warm weekend meals beg for a refreshing beverage. In hot, and humid weather, a heavy meal is not a comfort. Brian and I prefer tapas, little plates of ideal taste. And to wash it all down, a great sangria. I’ve already posted a Summer Melon Sangria but this Cosecha Sangria is more traditional and quite red.

Sangria has the reputation, in some corners, of being a second cousin beverage. That’s not the right attitude. It’s even more than first cousin. Sangria should be right up there in your immediate beverage family.

And it’s not just some cheap wine you toss fruit in to get taste, either. You need to start with a good, really good wine and build from there. After all, this is just like any food item. You want to start with great ingredients. You aren’t buying day-old chicken are you?

I made this sangria with two special ingredients. First the wine. From Spain, a true Rioja: Vinas De Olivara, Cosecha 2007. This is a red you would drink on its own. The wine phrase is “full-bodied.”

And for the liquor to add, I used a tangerine concoction from South Africa: KWV Van Der Hum. It’s a mixture of brandy, herb, and local tangerines. I really recommend this liquor and not, say, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier. KWV has tones of cinnamon and other spices that just mesh perfectly with the fruit you add to the sangria. Look for KWV is a well stocked liquor store and you’ll find many uses for it.

As for fruits, I think I have found a home for cherries. After a few hours, a fresh, ripe cherry will truly affect the sangria flavor. You don’t get cherry soda, here. What you do achieve are cherry overtones that are clear and enjoyable. Matching cherries with strawberries is a good duo. You’ll certainly get the strawberry overtones, particularly if the sangria sits overnight before drinking.

Cosecha Sangria

Yield: serves 4


1 bottle of Vinas De Olivara Cosecha 2007
½ cup KWV liquor
½ cup simple sugar syrup
1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and quartered
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 peach, peeled and sliced
1 lemon sliced


Put the wine, liquor and simple syrup in a glass pitcher and stir to mix. Add the fruits and mix. Cover the pitcher, put it in the refrigerator and stir occasionally. Try to allow at least 2 hours between making the sangria and enjoying it. That time is needed for the fruit flavors to meld with the wine.

Source: Brian O’Rourke