Odyssea Sangria is the name of the new ready-to-drink canned sangria, which is slated to hit the shelves at local retail establishments right around Dec. 10.
The new brand is a partnership between Lost Whale owners Dan Beres and Tripper Duval, who created and refined the recipe; and Tom Dufek, founder of Madison’s Plainspoke Cocktail Co. and Resting Spritz Face and co-founder of Young Blood Beer Co. who brought expertise in beverage production to the proverbial table.
“Our goal was to bridge the gap between the older style of sangria, which was approached more like a mulled beverage, and modern sangria, which is more open to interpretation,” says Beres. “We also wanted to create a balanced product that showcases the wine, rather than relegating it to the background.”
Produced by Cullen and Harrison in Sun Prairie with Beres’ recipes, the sangria comes in three varieties, each of which has its own unique flavor profile.
Odyssea White (10% ABV): a blend of bright, mineral forward wines (French Columbard and California Chardonnay) rounded out with hints of ripe orange, fig and vanilla, plus notable effervescence. A can of White contains 135 calories and 7 grams of sugar.
Odyssea Rosé (10% ABV): a blend of California Zinfandel and French Colombard that’s redolent with notes of fresh strawberry and tart kiwi, plus plenty of bubbles. A can of Rosé contains 145 calories and 9 grams of sugar.
Odyssea Red (10.1% ABV): a foundation of California Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon augmented by notes of raspberry, peach, lime, vanilla and cinnamon, plus a whisper of elegant carbonation. A can of Red contains 155 calories and 12 grams of sugar
All three bubbly beverages are composed of four simple ingredients: wine, naturally derived flavorings, cane sugar syrup and water. And they are all ready to drink (straight up or poured over ice).
Thanks to the warming spices and wine forward profile, Odyssea Red carries over the most naturally as a holiday-worthy drink. But don't rule out the White or Rosé; both are refreshing and light and they might just remind you of summer (even if it's only 30-degrees outside).
Modern sangria for modern times
The name "Odyssea" is definitely in keeping with the maritime theme that seems to run through everything the Lost Whale owners do. But it's more than that.
"The name Odyssea Sangria is an acknowledgment to the journey Sangria has made, and its ubiquitousness across the globe," says Beres. "You can go to Japan, ask for sangria, and they’ll know exactly what you’re asking for."
It also reflects another journey: the years it took for the sangria concept to make it to market.
Odyssea might be a brand new brand. But the research and development behind Odyssea Sangria goes back much further. In fact, it was six years ago when Beres first created a recipe for sangria with the intention of bottling it for retail sales. The original project never got off the ground.
More recently, Beres says the pandemic left him with time on his hands, giving him the opportunity to revisit the recipe and focus on bringing it up to speed for today’s beverage market. That included the decision to create a canned sangria, rather than a bottled product.
“As the market changed and there was an explosion of canned cocktails and seltzers, the notion of cans made more sense,” says Beres. “They’re light, easy to transport and safer when enjoyed outdoors.”
But Beres says he also wanted to create a sangria that stood out from others on the market. That meant creating a balanced beverage that was both quaffable and complex.
To do so, Beres says he sought out better quality, dry wines that provided a natural balance for both the sugar and fruit flavors, while also allowing the flavor profile of the wine itself to shine through.
“We balanced the flavor profiles like we’d balance a cocktail,” he says. “So we made sure it wasn’t cloyingly sweet. We also started with wines that tasted good on their own so that we could create a sangria that would appeal to wine drinkers.”
Odyssea Sangria is expected to begin hitting local store shelves beginning next week, which means it’s likely to be available in time for most holiday gatherings.
The new sangria is sold in four-packs of 250 ml cans with a recommended retail price of $12.99.
You're also likely to see it soon as an offering in local bars and restaurants. In addition to canned product, 30-liter kegs of Odyssea Red will also be available through Beechwood Sales & Service for purchase by bars and restaurants,with Rosé and White to follow next spring.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.