Have sangria, be merry without guilt

In case you missed it, the word is out that Maria Clara Sangria now has a non-alcoholic variant. This is the response of the mixed drink’s maker, Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Inc., to the changing preferences of consumers.

“During the pandemic, we noticed that there was a decline in alcohol consumption,” said Destileria Limtuaco’s president and chief executive officer Olivia Limpe-aw at the recent media launch of Maria Clara Sangria Virgin and the brand’s first-ever celebrity endorser, Moira dela Torre.

“One, there was a liquor ban imposed in the Philippines,” Limpe-aw recalled the time of the coronavirus pandemic. “Secondly, because there was an increased concern on health and wellness globally. That led to the development of Maria Clara Sangria Virgin that rides to the trend of low or no alcohol beverages globally.”

“It still offers the warm and citrusy notes of the traditional sangria,” she pointed out. “But without the alcohol. We are all in agreement that it still does taste good.” She added that it’s perfect for drinkers who can’t or shouldn’t consume alcohol on a particular occasion, like being in a party but has to drive home.

Maria Clara Sangria Virgin also has less sugar content compared to its original formulation, according to Destileria Limtuaco’s executive vice president, Aaron James Limpe-aw. “We tried to retain as much of the flavor in Maria Clara Sangria, but, of course, we used a combination of natural sugars and some proprietary blends. We really tried to make it a healthier alternative. It’s zero percent alcohol and lower in sugar content.”

While the non-alcoholic variant can also be used for cooking, Limpe-aw suggested to stick to the regular sangria for culinary purposes. That’s because the wine in that Spanish cocktail has the tenderizing and glazing effects common in all other alcoholic beverages.

“If you cook with wine or any alcoholic beverage for that matter,” he said, “you get rid of the alcohol, anyway, with the cooking process. So, it’s not a big deal if you use one or the other variant of our sangria.”

Here’s one way to enjoy a non-alcoholic sangria punch:

Photograph courtesy of lovebakesgoodcakes.com

1 bottle Maria Clara Sangria Virgin
1 cup apple, diced
1 cup lemon, sliced
1 cup orange, sliced
Chilled soda water (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and chill well. Serve over ice.