The difference between sangría and tinto de verano
I’ve always found rather hilarious how most tourists are desperate to drink sangría when they come to Spain. They probably think there’s nothing more typically Spanish, and I guess they’re right. After all, according to EU regulations, sangría can only be produced in Spain and Portugal.
The funny part comes when I tell them Spanish people don’t drink that much sangría. We obviously like it, and it can be easily found in bars and supermarkets. However, we drink tinto con limón (even) more often.
Now, if we were talking face to face and you asked me about the difference, I’d probably just say sangría has a bit more alcohol. As you are far away and I’m just writing, I suppose it won’t hurt if I go a bit further with the explanation. It’s pretty simple anyway.
Despite what I said before, it seems sangría was actually created by the English. Father Esteban Torres wrote in his Spanish Dictionary that sangría was “a drink created by the English that is often drunk in the English and French colonies in America”. It usually consists of red wine, chopped fruit, sweetener and also some liquor. You can add or take ingredients, as the recipe changes depending on where you are.
The chopped fruit needs to macerate, so it often takes about two hours to make sangría. Another option, especially recommended for lazy people, is to buy it at the supermarket; it’s not the same, but it’s good enough. As there’s more than one way to prepare sangría, the amount of alcohol can vary. However, the one you buy at the supermarket contains about 7% of alcohol.
Tinto de verano
Tinto de verano or, as I prefer to call it, summer water, is easier to make and has less alcohol (usually between 4% and 5%). You just have to mix red wine and soda or a lemon fizzy drink. Half and half, it’s very simple. As there’s not much alcohol in it and the taste is very sweet, most of my foreign friends say it’s juice.
This drink is not so old, as it was created in Córdoba (beautiful town, by the way) in the first third of the 20th century. Apart from making it yourselves, you can obviously find it at supermarkets all over Spain.
Which one is better?
I usually drink tinto con limón, although I often switch to sangría when I’m meeting non-Spanish friends. Both of them are good, it just depends on how tipsy you want to get. Because even if they don’t seem to have much alcohol, when you drink either of them under the sun in a hot summer afternoon, it goes to your head sooner or later. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.