Kombucha Infused Sangria: A Perfect Summer Party Drink! Plus, Is Wine Vegan? The Lowdown on Vegan Wines.

by Gena on June 5, 2012

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I am so glad you all liked the party recap yesterday! I hope it’s proof that vegan entertaining can be as fun as it is delicious and effortless. If you’re interested, the dessert recipes are up on the interwebs! To check out Victoria’s amazing high raw peanut butter pie (made with banana soft serve and peanut flour) you can find the link here. And to make Andrea’s wonderful roasted strawberry and coconut ice cream, check out her recipe. I’ve already given you a run down of most of my recipes, so now it’s time to share the one recipe I withheld yesterday: my delicious new formula for kombucha infused sangria.

I’ve probably mentioned in the past that I’m not much of a drinker, right? This is not to say that I never was a drinker, nor do I think moderate/occasional drinking is bad for you. My reasons for drinking seldom are strictly personal—a combination of not liking how I feel when I drink more than a very little, and personal/family history.

Because it’s not some sort of strict health stance, I do drink on occasion. That occasion is usually sharing a nice glass of wine with a partner or friend at a restaurant, celebrating something big with a sip of champagne, or pouring myself a glass of scotch after receiving an Orgo grade. Whatever the case, I rarely manage to polish off a cocktail on my own, but I do savor the chance to celebrate (mindfully) with a tasty libation.

One of the downsides to being an infrequent drinker is that one tends to lose one’s skills as a bartender. As I was preparing to have people over on Sunday, I realized only late in the afternoon that, while I’d lovingly prepared appetizers aplenty, I had virtually no beverages on offering (alcoholic or non). I knew Dasha was bringing over some coconut water, and I had regular water around, but what if my guests wanted to sip something a little more festive? Since it was warm and summery outside, M suggested that I consider making sangria. It was a great idea, and it became even more interesting when I started to ponder what it might be like to mix red wine with kombucha. A lot of sangria recipes call for club soda or 7 Up; why not stay in the carbonated theme, but choose something a little healthier than a soda?

Enter cranberry kombucha. I contemplated using the gingerade or synergy flavors, but in the end, cranberry worked best with the taste of wine, and it added something valuable to the dish without altering the fundamental taste of traditional sangria. One bottle of kombucha per bottle of red wine was just right!

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Kombucha Infused Sangria

Serves 4

1 bottle vegan red wine (see information below on vegan wine)
1 bottle cranberry kombucha (original flavor will work, too)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large apple, chopped
1 large peach, chopped
1 lemon, sectioned or cut into thin rounds
1 large orange, sectioned
1 tsp liquid or dry stevia or 1/4 cup agave syrup (optional, but I think it makes the recipe better)
Ice

Fill a large pitcher with ice. Add all other ingredients and stir. Refrigerate overnight for best taste, but a few hours will work just fine. Adjust sweetener to taste; you may well want it even sweeter than what I specified!

If you’re missing one ingredient (like the lime juice) rest assured that this is a forgiving recipe! Feel free to add cherries, berries, or pineapple in place of other fruits if you don’t have the ones I suggested. No matter what, this is a wonderful summer drink, and I can’t recommend it enough.

If you want to make a non-alcoholic beverage, simply use 3 bottles of kombucha instead of the the wine+kombucha combo. Remember to sweeten to fit your tastes! I’m definitely going to experiment with more kombucha sangrias this summer, and report back on my findings.

If you scrolled through the ingredients for this recipe and wondered about the vegan wine business, I just wanted to clarify to you that not all wine is vegan. The grapes are vegan, of course, but the “fining agents”—which winemakers use to filter protein, yeast, and cloudiness out of the wine—are nearly always derived from animals. They include blood (most often bull’s blood—this was recently banned in Europe) and bone marrow, gelatin (protein derived from boiling animal parts), isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes), casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (from egg whites). Isinglass is one of the more common fining agents.

Vegan wines are made by using carbon, bentonite clay, plant casein, or other substitutes. Not all organic or natural wines are vegan, so you have to look carefully to be sure a wine is vegan; some bottles now carry a specific label, but many don’t, so it’s best to do some research before you make a purchase. All kosher wine is vegan, so if you’re in a wine shop and don’t have a smartphone with which to do your research, that’s a safe bet. Yellow Tail red wines are also vegan (not the whites), so they’re often my go-to; of course, they’re a lower priced brand, and they may not please true oenophiles, but since I have a rather undiscerning palate, they do the trick!

Here are a few other tried and true vegan brands, courtesy of PETA:

China Bend Winery: www.chinabend.com; 1-800-700-6123
Fitzpatrick Winery: www.fitzpatrickwinery.com; 1-800-245-9166
Frey Winery: www.freywine.com; 1-800-760-3739
Organic Biodynamic Vegan Wine: www.veganitaly.com/index.html; +447786247056
Organic Vintners: www.organicvintners.com; 800-216-3898
Organic Wine Company: www.ecowine.com; 1-888-ECO-WINE
Pure Wine Company: www.purewine.co.uk; 023 80238214
Seghesio Family Vineyards: www.seghesio.com; 866-734-4374
Smithfield Wine: www.petamall.com/PLPShop.asp?RecordID=71; +44 (0161) 273 6070
Thumbprint Cellars: www.thumbprintcellars.com; 707-433-2393
Wrights Wines: www.wrightswines.co.nz; 06 868 0967

And Frommar’s also has a really good and extensive guide.

If this is helpful, I can do a much more extensive post not only on wine, but on other vegan drinks. Let me know! And I hope the sangria is a crowd-pleaser.

xo

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren June 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Love it!! I’m not a drinker either, so when I made kombucha sangria, I just added fruit to Gingerade kombucha. Nice touch with the extras. I think I’ll add wine for my guests next time and leave mine alcohol free. :)

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Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See June 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

So interesting! And love the idea of adding kombucha. Do you think it would work as well with white wine?

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Faye June 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Looks delicious! Also, barnivore.com has a TON of information about vegan alcohols, and reference guides for wine, beer, and hard alcohol. A great resource worth checking out! :)

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Shady June 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm

You read my mind Faye! I love Banivore and use it frequently. (I don’t know what that says about my drinking habits :)

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Gena June 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I forgot Barnivore! I’ll put that in a more detailed post, if there’s reader demand :)

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Jill in Chicago June 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

I “fourth” barnivore!

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Amanda June 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Your sangria sounds wonderful! I am definitely going to be trying this in the near future.

I had no idea that most wines aren’t vegan. I’m not a big wine drinker, but I would be very interested in a follow-up post on this. Thanks so much for sharing – I’m going to pass this info on to family/friends!

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Gena June 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Aw, I’m glad the info is helpful, Amanda! There are so many things that are sneakily un-vegan.

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Janessa June 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Genius. Pure genius. I make sangria frequently in the summer, and will definitely add kombucha next time. I typically make white sangria: white wine or moscato (a slightly bubbly or effervescent white wine), triple sec or acai liquor, fresh fruit, and soda water. Next time I’ll try the ginger or other clear flavor in place of the soda water.

I personally would like to try the chia kombucha in my sangria, but I’m not sure how well that would go over with my guests. Ha.

(Hugs to you drinking scotch after your Orgo grade <3)

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Stefania of Revitalize with Stefania June 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I almost never drink myself, but since this sound light and refreshing, I am going to give it a go! :)

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity June 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Great post Gena! I gave up drinking 7 months ago and it was thie best thing I have ever done for me personally but I am glad you posted this recipe so I can still make it for my guests and make a alco free one for me without feeling like im missing out!
Lisa x

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Lia June 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Nice, thanks! I’ve always not really known how to go about figuring out if wine was vegan or not. I’m glad something so mainstream, and price conscious, as Yellow Tail red is vegan. Cheers to that!

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Fiona Schmidt June 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Absolutely love this idea! Thank you!

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Fiona Schmidt June 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Yes! My comments are going through again! Thank you!

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Tess June 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Great article, really well written and full of wonderful facts! Thanks for mentioning us at thumbprint cellars. Let us know if you ever need any more information about vegan wines. Cheers!

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Kerry June 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Gena, if I may make a reader request … I’d love some insight into how you manage your time to create such great posts every day! for example, do you write in the morning, the evening, how far in advance do you plan out your posts? it’s very impressive!!!
Kerry

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Averie @ Averie Cooks June 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Fabulous post and love the sangria! Recently I just got into white sangria b/c it’s lighter; with mango, peach, pineapple. Now I need to make that with kombucha. Great thinking, Gena.

And thanks for the recipe links; was actually on their sites looking yesterday to no avail.

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Gena June 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Oh good! Both fabulous recipes!

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Allison F. June 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Hi, Gena! I recently tried kombucha for the first time and I found it delightful. Sangria is pretty much the only alcoholic drink I’ll sip on– we’re talking maybe twice a year, haha– so I’ll have to give this recipe a shot! By the way, have you announced the winners of the contest you held last week? I can’t seem to find any more info on that.

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FoodFeud June 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm

HOW Fantastic!! I am a bit of a drinker, heh, but I like to keep it classy when entertaining others. This sounds both refreshing and tasty!

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Ricki June 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Sounds like a perfect party drink! And you *know* I love kombucha! :D

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Alex @ Raw Recovery June 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm

This recipe looks amazing! I love Sangria but I’m also not much of a drinker because a little bit of alcohol can make me feel very sick but I do like a few sips here and there. I love the idea of adding in Kombucha. That’s brilliant! I’ve recently started drinking Kombucha (it scared me for a while…just the name and floaty things in the bottom) but I really enjoy it now.

Also, thank you for the information about many wines not being vegan. I had absolutely no idea. I visited the winery that makes the wine Fat Bastard when I studied in France and it was such a fun visit, but they never mentioned anything about using animal ingredients in the process of making it. Thank you for the heads up!

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Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy June 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm

oh wow that sounds so delicious and refreshing! thanks for sharing! yum!!

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Ali June 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Oh the bit about the scotch made me laugh ruefully! One of the things I love about this post is that it makes it so clear that drinking alcohol is not an all or nothing proposition in social or other situations. I spent a long time thinking I had to either banish alcohol from my life completely or accept it in every single social situation where it was offered, however often it was offered. So much happier now that I feel comfortable drinking a little wine when I feel like, and just as happily bringing some sparkling water to a get-together when drinking is not appealing.

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Pure2raw twins June 6, 2012 at 6:34 am

We love mixing our kombucha with a little wine or vodka, so good and so easy to make. Love the idea of making Sangria out of it, Gary loves Sangria so I will have to give this a try! Thanks!
xoxo
~Lori

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April June 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

I don’t normally drink alcohol either. Mostly because I don’t enjoy it so much or how I feel after. I would prefer healthy fresh squeezed juice over alcohol. Looks like a great party recipe.

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elizabeth June 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thanks for this post. I love both kombucha and wine, but never thought of mxing the two. I’ve never searched for vegan wines, but for a time I was trying in a frustratingly disappointing search to find organic wines I liked. No luck this side of the Atlantic, but turns out a lot of (well known) French wineries use organic production methods, but don’t label their wines as “organic.”

I tried total abstinence for a while, and I guess it was good in that it helped me hit “reset” and get over a daily drinking habit. Nowadays, alcohol is an “occasional indulgence.” Interesting that keeping it occasional’s been rather easy, given my history. Goes to show we’re always in control (you know my thoughts on the medical model of addiction!).

I too love Synergy, but at $3.79 a pop, I’m done with them for now. Making my own on the reg, and it’s SO easy. I’m the laziest rawfoodist ever, so you can trust me this one. It’s just a matter of getting started and then keeping a rhythm going. Though I recall you writing one time that you didn’t love carbonated drinks, so maybe kombucha’s something you’re only consuming occasinally, in which case might not be worth it. But for anyone who’s drinking it daily, or every other day, making your own saves multiple dollars a day.

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k June 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

just thought i’d mention that another vegan wine option is one called the vegan vine. i stumbled across it when i happened to go shopping at a local market + there was a free tasting event for it that evening. i enjoy their sauvignon blanc. here’s some info, if anyone is interested: http://supervegan.com/blog/entry.php?id=1761

love the kombucha sangria idea, gena!

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Genevieve June 6, 2012 at 11:17 am

Gena, this is so great! Sangria is delicious, but I rarely drink it because of all the soda and sugar involved. But I’ll try your recipe next time I have a summer gathering.

Also, I’m glad M made a sneaky little appearance in this post. I wondered if he was still around. (I’m so nosey!)

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Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie June 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I can’t wait to try this! Sounds like the perfect light, refreshing summer night cocktail. I might have to break out my giant sangria pitcher this weekend in fact! :)

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megan June 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I love http://www.barnivore.com for finding vegan alcohol. I can usually pull it up on my smart phone so while I’m in the store I can check and see. To try to find wine a bit more suitable to bring to a dinner party, I’ve done backward research from the wine lists of nice vegan restaurants like Pure Food and Blossom. I found a distributor for many of these vegan wines and was able to track down a lot of them at various liquor stores (http://organicvintages.com/).

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Ali June 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Haha, a glass of scotch after your Orgo exams. Love it. Also, yick on the animals in wine!!

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Cat @ Cat's Kitchen June 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm

This is so helpful! We often buy Yellowtail, but I didn’t know it was vegan. Alcoholic drinks is one area I have not yet learnt to veganise. Knowing that has just made the transition easy! Thank you Gena :)

Another post on other vegan drinks would be wonderful – ciders, vodka?

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E June 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

What about the recipe for that gorgeous barley salad?

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles June 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Wonderful! I don’t drink alcohol very often either, a personal choice that sounds similar to yours. I’d love to make this with all kombucha! Anything with fruit and kombucha sounds pretty fantastic to me.

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Hannah June 10, 2012 at 12:31 am

Oh Gena, once again, so much similarity! I, too, rarely drink, though lately have become more flexible with having a glass of bubbly or rose when out with family for a celebratory lunch or dinner, and as a result always have that moment of “ack! All I have in my fridge is soy milk and water” when I invite people over. Last night, I had a friend from Melbourne stay, and he brought a bottle of rose. I… don’t even have wine glasses. We drank out of teacups.

Which is all just me rambling, and to say that I’d so much rather your kombucha. Any type of glass would suffice for this, surely? :D

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Sarah June 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Hi there,

Stumbled across your blog today as I was trying to find something nice for dinner – hurrah! After being vegan for 6 years now, my husband (vegan for his whole life!) wanted to have a go at raw veganism (again for him).

Just thought I would pop in here, that in the UK the Co-operative (co-op) label their own brand wines with “suitable for vegans” or just vegetarians :)

I shall keep browsing!

Sarah

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andrea June 30, 2012 at 11:03 am

I made this last night for a party and it was a big hit. I doubled the recipe and used stevia instead of agave (b/c I didn’t have any). It was awesome! I hid the fact that I made it with kombucha until after people told me how much they loved it. : ) I have some friends who are not so open minded towards trying kombucha but maybe now they will be. I was even asked to make it again for the 4th of July. Great recipe! I am happy I found Choosing Raw and can’t wait to try more of your recipes soon. Thank you!

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