I love red wine, especially a good Pinot Noir but, unfortunately, it doesn’t always love me back. Earlier this year I woke up at about 3 am with a racing heart rate and I freaked out. Heart conditions run in my dad’s side of the family and I’m only 26! Despite my chest feeling like someone was playing the drums in there, I eventually managed to get back to sleep and was still alive in the morning. Phew! A few weeks later, the same thing happened… and then again, a few weeks after that. Only, the third time it happened, I thought back to what I’d been doing beforehand.
It turned out that I wasn’t dying (!) but I had enjoyed two glasses of Merlot the nights before I had woken up with a rapid heart rate. I asked on the very trustworthy Fructose Malabsorption Support Group whether anyone there knew anything and two words were thrown at me: histamines and sulphites.
Histamines are a a biogenic amine that occur to some extent in many foods, in addition to being produced endogenously by mast cells; histamine is degraded by the amine oxidase class of enzymes – if this enzyme activity is reduced, histamine levels can accumulate and allergic-type reactions can occur. Sulphites are a common food preservative, which some people develop a sensitivity to over their lifetimes, the cause of which is unknown. My money is on histamines, as I am yet to have a problem with white wines but red wine apparently contains anywhere from 20-200% more histamine than white wine, whereas white wine usually contains more sulphites than red wine (thanks, Wikipedia). Whichever it is, I do know that I can drink about half a glass of red wine safely, definitely not more than one. Stupid body!
So, this is where sangria comes in. The sangrias I have had in the past were 1:1 red wine and soda water, among other things, so half the amount of whatever it is that makes my body react. Ergo, I can drink twice as much. Yay! It is best to make this at least 4 hours before you plan to serve it, I normally make it in the morning, so the flavours have had time to mingle together and settle down.
- A traditional sangria originated in Portugal and Spain and contains red wine, a little brandy, chopped fruit and a sweetener of some sort (honey, castor sugar, orange juice).
- Brandy is NOT FODMAP friendly, so I replaced it with vodka. Feel free to use brandy if you can.
- I looked up quite a few different recipes to create this one, and I liked the use of triple sec to enhance the orange flavour. I do not know if it is strictly low FODMAP but there is only a small amount in there. If anyone knows anything different, please let me know.
- I only used low FODMAP fruits – orange, lemon, lime… if strawberries were cheap, I would probably have diced some and thrown them in, too.
- I used soda water/club soda to add some fizz and also reduce the histamine content… though the vodka helps to get the alcohol percentage back up a little bit, maybe I should have made this brew a little more potent?! Haha.
- Dextrose helps to balance out any excess fructose that might occur due to the red wine or triple sec liqueur.
- Like white wines, the dryer (less sweet) the red wine, the lower it will be in FODMAPs. Choose a bottle that is nice but not expensive, as I’m sure that some would count that as an offense to the Wine Gods.
- If gluten is an issue, make sure you choose gluten free spirits and liqueurs.
- As always with the low FODMAP diet, everyone is a little different. If you are just trying out wine or a sangria for the first time, take it easy and just have a small serving.
Low(ish) FODMAP Sangria
- 1 x 750 ml bottle of a red wine that you tolerate.
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup triple sec – I’m okay with this but it can be replaced with fresh orange juice if required
- 1/4 cup castor sugar or 1/3 cup dextrose
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp. fresh OJ
- 1/2 orange, washed and thinly sliced
- 1/2 lemon, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 x 750 ml bottle of soda water
Pour the vodka, triple sec, fruit juices and dextrose/castor sugar into the jug you plan to serve it in. Thoroughly mix until the dextrose/castor sugar has dissolved and then pour in the entire bottle of red wine, before mixing once more and adding the sliced fruit. Refrigerate for at least four hours, I normally leave it for eight.
Just before you are ready to serve the sangria, pour in the chilled soda water and give it a gentle stir.
Sit back and watch it disappear! I made two batches of sangria for a dinner party a couple of months ago and they were both gone in under an hour and a half, between 14 people.