Blackberry Sangria

Time for another sangria.  This one appealed to me because there were a few iterations of it, all claiming that the sangria at Carrabas was something really special.  I have never been to Carrabas to know, personally, if this is the real deal, but some commenters on the post (one being a bartender at a Carrabas) claim it is so.  (Click HERE for original recipe)

Blackberry Sangria

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: Carrabas and Food.com

Ingredients

  • 1 750mL bottle of sweet Italian red wine
  • 10 oz cranberry juice (no sugar added)
  • 4 oz Blackberry syrup
  • 3 oz Tuaca Italian liqueur
  • Blackberries (and raspberries)
  • Sliced oranges and lemons for garnish
  • Lemon-lime soda

Directions

  1. Pour wine, cranberry juice, blackberry syrup, Tuaca, and berries into a pitcher.
  2. Put into the refrigerator and allow to sit for a few hours.
  3. Pour 8 ounces of sangria into a wine glass.
  4. Top with 2 ounces of lemon-lime soda.
  5. Add a slice of orange and a slice of lemon.

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I had never heard of Tuaca before making this recipe and I’m not even sure I know how to pronounce it right (not that it matters).  I had to look it up to make sure it wasn’t some obscure liqueur, but, lo and behold, I was able to find it at my favorite local emporium.  By description, Tuaca is a “vanilla liqueur with citrus essences.”  So, in my mind, I’m thinking what is going to make this liqueur all that different from the typical citrus liqueur?  And, do I really need to spend $30+ on another bottle of something that is going to take up precious space in my liquor cabinet?  Well, I took the gamble and the answers to both of those questions are “yes”.  The vanilla is quite prominent and gives this liqueur a warm, mellow flavor.  Justifying cost for a liqueur is relative (so, for you, the threshold may be more or less…I’m a mid-range girl…$30-ish is comfortable to me unless it is something wildly unique, rare or amazing) – I’m always more concerned about my spirits not being versatile and getting used.  While this is an ESSENTIAL ingredient in this sangria, I can also imagine it being used in some fall and winter cocktails.

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Now to the sangria…I felt that little bit of background info is useful because this liqueur should not be substituted.  The flavor is unique and really makes this sangria what it is.  The vanilla and citrus mix the flavors of the wine with the cranberry and blackberry just perfectly.

This recipe is actually half of the original recipe.  If you are making this for a group, do consider doubling it.  I need to point out that I decreased the amount of blackberry syrup by about half and, to compensate for the volume difference, I increased the amount of cranberry juice.  For me, the quantity of sugar is an issue – both for taste and caloric purposes.  But, feel free to use the original quantities (which, for the halved recipe, would be 7 ounces of blackberry syrup and 7 ounces of cranberry juice).  I was pleased with the sweetness of the sangria, despite the decrease in syrup (and I like sweet drinks).

The Carrabas bartender, referred to earlier, did note that they add 2 ounces of lemon-lime soda to each glass – this is reflected in my recipe.  Expensive wines are typically not used in sangria.  For this sangria, I used a $6 bottle of an Italian sweet table red wine (I saved my $9 bottle of table red for a “special” occasion) and it worked very nicely.  The only fruit they steep in the sangria are the blackberries – to which I added a handful of raspberries that I had in the fridge.  You could add the slices of orange and lemon as well – I added them on the second night and didn’t find that it made a big difference in flavor.

Overall, I was very happy with this sangria recipe and will make it again.  This is a lovely drink to serve anytime of the year, but I am looking forward to serving this again in the fall – that dark red is perfect for Halloween and the flavors would be well suited for a November dinner party.  Of course, I may not be able to wait that long…cheers!

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