Brazilian Red Wine Cocktail with Pineapple and Condensed Milk
Wine is not drunk often in Brazil. Rather, the national drink of choice is cachaca, a strong drink harvested from sugar cane juice with a flavor similar to rum. Brazilians like to drink it with a little sugar and lime, or in a cocktail known as a caipirinha. This is not to say that wine is unheard of in the country. But Brazilians are famous for having a sweet tooth, so the libation is generally preferred as part of a sweet cocktail rather than on its own. For example, red wine features in a pineapple cocktail that incorporates another favorite Brazilian ingredient: condensed milk.
Brazilian Pineapple Cocktail vs Sangria
The name of this pineapple cocktail in Brazil is Espanhola, which translates literally to “Spanish.” This is likely due to the loose resemblance the drink bears to a very famous Spanish drink: sangria. Like sangria, Espanhola incorporates red wine and fruit. But that’s about all the two drinks have in common.
Traditional sangria incorporates a variety of whole, sliced fruits (oranges, apples, lemons) and gets its sweetness from simple syrup and/or some kind of carbonated soda. By contrast, the Brazilian pineapple cocktail is sweetened with condensed milk and blends the fruit into the drink, resulting in a kind of red wine smoothie. It is served over ice cubes and drunk through a straw. Fresh pineapple or the peel often serves as a garnish.
Red Wine to Use for Cocktails
You can use any wine you like for this recipe, so long as it is dry, not sweet. Trust us, this drink is sweet enough on its own without the addition of sweet wine. We prefer a nice rioja or chianti, but a dry cabernet or malbec works as well.
Pineapple Cocktail Fruit Variations
The traditional Espanhola cocktail incorporates only pineapple, but you are welcome to do a little alchemy and experiment with various fruits. Pulpy fruits are best suited to blending, so you might first try things like strawberries, bananas, or even passionfruit. A combination could also be lovely.
You also have the option of blending your drink with ice, or serving it over whole ice cubes (think of a blended margarita versus on the rocks). Again, the traditional drink uses whole ice cubes, but a fully blended version wouldn’t go amiss, especially on a hot summer day.
Brazilian Pineapple and Red Wine Cocktail (Espanhola)
1 bottle of dry red wine
1 can sweetened, condensed milk (14 oz)
2 cups pineapple slices or chunks (If using canned, make sure it is unsweetened)
2-3 cups ice
- Add wine, pineapple, and condensed milk to the pitcher of a blender. Blend on high until smooth and thickened.
- If you want to blend your pineapple cocktail with ice, add it to the blender ½ cup at a time and blend again on high until fully incorporated and you are happy with the consistency.
- If not blending, add the ice to four glasses and pour the blended red wine, condensed milk, and pineapple over it.
- Garnish the glasses with a fresh pineapple slice.
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