The Memory

Back in grad school I was asked to make sangria for a party and I agreed without giving it too much thought. I’d never made sangria before but I thought, “How hard could it be”? Well, I didn’t plan ahead and ended up buying a box of ready-made sangria, put it in the freezer to cool a little and then took a nap that turned into a siesta. Of course it froze and with less than half an hour, I did what any college student would do – put the box in the microwave, cut up some fruit and served it.

At the party I looked on as people started to serve themselves bracing myself for what surely would be negative reactions but the exact opposite happened and there was not a drop left. For the rest of year I was tasked with bringing the sangria to parties, dinners – everything.

The Experiment

That memory sparked the idea for an experiment – can people distinguish the difference between a traditional sangria recipe and microwaved ready-made sangria? These were the parameters of my experiment:


  1. I propose that the taste tester will not be able to tell which is the microwaved product and will also prefer the taste of the ready-made product;
  2. The taste tester hypothesizes he will be able to tell which is microwaved but is not sure which he will prefer.


  1. Select a guinea pig, err, I mean taste tester – let’s call him Bear;
  2. Serve the two sangria versions in unmarked cups;
  3. Have Bear taste each product and write down his assessment;
  4. Have Bear determine which is the microwaved product


  1. Cup A (ready-made sangria)
    “It has a very sweet taste and is smooth in the beginning. The fruit flavor is pleasant – overall, it has a sweet, simple flavor and is easy to understand. Overall, 9 of 10 stars. And this is the ready-made sangria. — Bear”
  2. Cup B (traditional sangria)
    “It’s very strong, less sweet and fruity and can make me a little dizzy. Overall, 7 of 10 stars. I think it’s better for an age group that can appreciate the complex taste and strength. — Bear”

The Conclusion

Going back to the hypothesis, I correctly predicted that Bear would prefer the ready-made, microwaved product but incorrectly assessed that he would not be able to tell which was the ready-made product. Bear correctly identified the ready-made product and ended up liking both version for different reasons.

In the end we were reminded that there’s something for everyone. Having tasted the ready-made, microwaved sangria I also thought it was good – perhaps it has some of the qualities and flavors of mulled wine. Ultimately we concluded that the ready-made sangria would go very well with a meal, where it would complement the meal rather than compete with it and the traditional sangria stands on it’s own and should be enjoyed that way.

This little experiment ultimately reminded me that sangria, anyway you make it, is a refreshing, complex drink that lightens any occasion. So whether you decide to make a traditional recipe or go the ready-made route, with sangria you can never go wrong – grab a glass, a few friends and kick up your feet with one of the world’s best drinks, sangria!

Be safe and enjoy your drinks!