Culture

For Christmas, Study Up On Your Culture By Understanding The History Of Sangria

Oh, sweet, sweet sangria. Whether you’re a true wine lover or you just like getting lit—sangria was made for just about everybody. It’s boozy, fruity, fresh, and overwhelmingly delicious, perfect for lounging on a beach or kicking back for a movie night with your clique. Known all over the world for its party-fueling powers, sangria actually has quite a curious history (not to mention its highly exciting present—people all over love its punchy flavor). 

Perhaps you should pour yourself a glass right now—you know, to enhance everything you’re going to learn about this typical Spanish beverage.

Credit: Pinterest

Where does this tasty tonic come from? As is the case with most things food and drink, the answer is not exactly straightforward, though many historians trace sangria all the way back to the Roman Empire. In fact, early Greeks and Romans both used to add different ingredients to their wine, from honey to seeds to warming spices, like cinnamon and clove. This haphazard blending of whatever they could find eventually transformed into a beverage called “hippocras,” which was occasionally heated like today’s vino caliente.

Because water was often undrinkable due to contamination, wine and other alcoholic beverages were widely sought after, since alcohol made the water more potable. The people who inhabited Spain around 1100 BC—though, keep in mind that this part of the world was definitely not known as Spain back then—were preparing a similar drink with Phoenician grapevines. They would follow the Romans’ footsteps a few centuries later.

Although alcohol—wine included—virtually disappeared with the invasion of the Islamic Moors in the 8th century, it made its return nearly 800 years later. And with the return of wine came the return of sangria’s ancestors: concoctions that were similar to today’s blend of wine, local fruit, and the occasional spirit, but which probably took a slightly different form.

Credit: Pinterest

The first traceable mention of sangria didn’t appear until the 1800s, and that original reference is connected to the act of bloodletting—not the drink itself.

And since that first mention of sangria, Spain has really laid claim to this beverage, even though its current incarnation is relatively new. If you’ve visited any part of Spain—most notably Barcelona or Madrid—you’ve likely seen sangria advertised in every restaurant, cafeteria, and chiringuito in sight. It is undeniably delicious, incredibly strong, and something of a tourist magnet, and Spain has really embraced it as a symbol of their culinary identity.

In fact, under European law, all sangria must be made on the Iberian Peninsula in order to be classified as Sangria (much like champagne is only technically champagne if it comes from a certain part of France). To qualify as sangria, the mix must also have less than 12 percent alcohol by volume—which, let’s be honest, is probably not the case of most homemade sangrias served on the beach and at wild Spanish parties. It’s super common add bourbon, brandy, or high-proof liqueurs to the mix, and it’s even more difficult to measure the alcohol percentage of a hand-blended pitcher full of booze.

So how did sangria become such an international superstar?

Credit: Pinterest

It’s true—sangria is beloved by people all over the world, especially in the UK and the US. Sangria’s introduction to the US is said to have happened in 1964 during the New York World’s Fair of that year. As 1964 was less than 60 years ago, sangria’s presence in the US more short-lived than many of New York’s Spanish restaurants, which date back to the Spanish Civil War (a conflict that ended in 1939). At the World’s Fair, the Spanish Pavilion served its guests a refreshing, wine-based fruit punch that was an instant hit, and ever since, sangria has been a highly popular summer drink throughout our country and around the world.

A key difference between Spanish sangria and its international counterparts is the type of wine used. Traditionally, wine from the Rioja region is chosen, although Tempranillo varietals were also commonly used (these are generally full-bodied red wines that are less costly to produce). In the UK, French Bordeaux wine is used most often, a region that usually features Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grapes. In the US, there is not necessarily one preferred varietal, with sangria instead serving as a sort of canvas for bartenders and restaurateurs to experiment. It seems that every place has its own sangria recipe, revising the original template to create a whole array of tart, inviting, powerful beverages.

Although winter may not seem like the season for sangria, there’s never a wrong moment to enjoy this tasty drink. It’s quick, inexpensive, and easy to make—why not pour a pitcher right now? Salud!

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A Mexican Artist Is Making Pancake Art That’s Too Beautiful To Eat

Culture

A Mexican Artist Is Making Pancake Art That’s Too Beautiful To Eat

Social media is where people can show off just about anything they create. This includes art in any and all media, like pancake art. Claudia, the creator behind Nappan Pancake art, is the latest artist watching their art reach the masses.

Claudia, the artist behind Nappan Pancake art, got her start because of the pandemic.

The artist first started to play around with pancake art last spring break when the pandemic forced businesses and schools to close. Claudia wanted to get more creative with her kids’ breakfasts since they were now always at home.

“I started experimenting with making Pancake art,” Claudia recalls to mitú. “At first I only used the color of the natural dough and a little cocoa. At first, I just used the ketchup dispensers and little by little I learned.”

Claudia uses her pancake art to honor some truly iconic people.

@nappancakes

Responder a @detodoun_poco233 Cepillín ✨🥞✨ en nuestros ♥️ #parati #fy #HijosAdopTiktoks #adoptiktoks #viral #foryou @cepillintv #pancakeart ncakeart

♬ La Feria de Cepillin – Cepillín

Cepillín recently died and the loss was felt throughout the community. He made our lives joyous and fun with his music, especially his birthday song. Some of the creations are done for fans who request to see their faves turned into delicious pancake art.

The artist loves creating the edible works of art.

The journey of becoming a pancake artist has been a fun adventure for Claudia and her children. The more she has practiced, the more she has been able to do.

“Sometimes I scream with excitement and I go to all the members of my house to see it,” Claudia says about her successes. “Other times it’s just a feeling like “disappointment could be better” other times it just breaks or burns and then I just cry but it usually feels very satisfying.”

You can check out all of her creations on TikTok.

@nappancakes

Responder a @reyna100804santoyo siii🥞✨ díganle que me adopte 🥺 @ederbez #adoptiktoks #hijosadoptiktoks #parati #foryou #viral #fy #art #pancakeart

♬ Little Bitty Pretty One – Thurston Harris

With 350,000 followers and growing, it won’t be long until more people start to fully enjoy Claudia’s art. Her children can’t get enough of it and she is so excited to share it with the rest of the world.

READ: Spicy Food Lovers Have Reason To Celebrate As New Study Says Eating Chilies Could Be Secret To Longevity

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Things That Matter

Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Photo via George W. Davis, Public Domain

Today, March 22nd marks Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud in Puerto Rico–the date that marks the emancipation of slaves in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, enslaved peoples were emancipated in 1873–a full decade after the U.S. officially abolished slavery. But unlike the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico celebrates today as an official holiday, where many businesses are closed.

The emancipation of Puerto Rican slaves was a very different process than the United States’. For one, the emancipation was gradual and over three years.

When the Spanish government abolished slavery in Puerto Rico 1873, enslaved men and women had to buy their freedom. The price was set by their “owners”. The way the emancipated slaves bought their freedom was through a process that was very similar to sharecropping in the post-war American south. Emancipated slaves farmed, sold goods, and worked in different trades to “buy” their freedom.

In the same Spanish edict that abolished slavery, slaves over the age of 60 were automatically freed. Enslaved children who were 5-years-old and under were also automatically freed.

Today, Black and mixed-race Puerto Ricans of Black descent make up a large part of Puerto Rico’s population.

The legacy of enslaved Black Puerto Ricans is a strong one. Unlike the United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t classify race in such black-and-white terms. Puerto Ricans are taught that everyone is a mixture of three groups of people: white Spanish colonizers, Black African slaves, and the indigenous Taíno population.

African influences on Puerto Rican culture is ubiquitous and is present in Puerto Rican music, cuisine, and even in the way that the island’s language evolved. And although experts estimate that up to 60% of Puerto Ricans have significant African ancestry, almost 76% of Puerto Ricans identified as white only in the latest census poll–a phenomenon that many sociologists have blamed on anti-blackness.

On Puerto Rico’s Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud, many people can’t help but notice that the island celebrates a day of freedom and independence when they are not really free themselves.

As the fight for Puerto Rican decolonization rages on, there is a bit of irony in the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the only American territories that officially celebrates the emancipation of slaves, when Puerto Rico is not emancipated from the United States. Yes, many Black Americans recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as the official day to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it is not an official government holiday.

Perhaps, Puerto Rico celebrates this historical day of freedom because they understand how important the freedom and independence is on a different level than mainland Americans do.

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