Sangria, Spain’s contribution to summer sipping, can add a punch to hot-weather parties. Big batches of the festive beverage give red wine its moment in the sun with plenty of refreshing fruits, but mixing it at home can be time-consuming (there’s all that fruit to cut and steep) and the final product too sloshy to transport. Latitude Beverage Company makes it all a little simpler with their new-this-summer Mija Sangria. Over at Citizen Public House, bartender (and BostonChefs intern) Laura Valente likes the drink for its seasonal flavors and versatility, drinking it straight up or shaken with spirits. She shares her favorite use for the fruity concoction and shows off Mija’s mixing side with a simple bourbon cocktail.
Mija comes from the folks behind 90+ Cellars, whose main mission is making great wine more accessible. Their sangria has no additives or preservatives—just fresh fruit juice and red wine bottled in a reusable container for no-mess carrying (who wants red wine on their summer whites?) and a flip-top cap for easy opening and re-opening (it is a party drink, after all.)
You can drink Mija over a little ice, add your own fruits for a customized sangria or do as Valente does and sub in spirits for a punchier punch. Sangria is traditionally made a little boozier with brandy but pulpy flavors like orange and pomegranate had Valente reaching for a darker spirit to mix up her summer party staple, like Four Roses whisky. Bourbon and red wine may not be an intuitive match (unless it’s in a New York Sour) but the brown liquor cozies up to orange and cherry flavors (just as they do in an Old Fashioned). The rich citrus pairs well with the lighter, fruitier bourbon while the tart Luxardo cherries round out the palate. Valente adds a little effervescent soda water for a thirst-quenching glass.
Mija’s experimentation opportunities, and its stand-alone strength, make it an out-of-the-ordinary party pleaser. A handful of blueberries turns it into a festive Fourth refresher and blending it with liquor makes an instant signature drink. Mija is available at shops like Somerville’s Downtown Wine & Spirits, Savin Hill Specialties in Boston and more. A bottle in the fridge is a must-have for hot days with one on the bar reserved for social calls. Test out Valente’s recipe below to get your red wine fix when the temp goes up.
Mija Bourbon Cocktail, by Laura Valente
4 pieces of Luxardo cherries
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce Four Roses yellow label bourbon
1.5 ounces Mija Sangria
Muddle the cherries in your mixing glass and add the syrup, bourbon and sangria. Fill with ice. Shake heartily so that the cherries blend well. Pour into a Collins glass over ice and top with soda water. Enjoy.