Summer of Sangria
Photo by Scott Goodwin
No one turns down a glass of sangria. It's the foolproof, crowd-pleasing, “Can I have the recipe?” winner of any get-together. And it solves the wine versus cocktail conundrum by combining them into one super delicious pitcher of summery goodness. Not only is sangria colorful, but it also showcases seasonal fruits and is a breeze to make according to your tastes. Whether you want to use red, white, or rosé wine as your base, we’ve got the recipe for you.
But first you need to choose the right type of wine; pay attention to the wine’s overall style and flavor profile, not just the brand or grape varietal. For red sangria, Eric Olson from Salem Wine Imports says: “I always recommend a young, fruity, unoaked red with no or limited tannins. One particularly good exam- ple would be the Casa Santos Lima Lab Red from Portugal ($8)—a blend of regional grapes, it has good body, fruity flavors of plum and spice, and tannins that are smooth and non- intrusive.” He also suggests Italian Nero d’Avola and Spanish Garnacha for reds.
We can thank the Spanish and Portuguese for bringing us sangria, which became known in the United States when it officially debuted at the World’s Fair in New York City in 1964. More recently, white and pink (rosé) sangrias have risen in popularity and are a refreshing choice for sweltering summer days. Olson suggests medium-bodied, fruity whites that aren’t too sweet or oaky. Vinho Verde, a slightly effervescent varietal from Portugal, is a perfect choice, he says, and the price can’t be beat. “With sangria, most people expect to keep it inexpensive [because] a pricey, better wine would be wasted.” Look for European or South American wines—they’re often higher quality at a better value. Any 2014 Provence rosé is fantastic for sangria, and for white, Olson likes Mont Gravet Cotes de Gascogne ($8), with its notes of citrus and melon.
Use the recipes below as a guideline for proportions and flavor combinations, and then experiment with your favorite fruits and spirits for the perfect summer sipper.
Where to buy: Salem Wine Imports, 32 Church Street, Salem, 978-741-9463, salemwineimports.com
TROPICAL WHITE SANGRIA
> 1 bottle of white wine
> 2 c. lemons, peaches, grapes, sliced
> 1 c. pineapple juice
> 1/2 c. white rum
> 1/2 c. St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
> 1-2 c. lemon-lime soda
> Fresh mint
In a large pitcher, pour pineapple juice, rum, and elderflower liqueur over fruit; stir to combine. Let soak for up to an hour (optional). Add bottle of white wine; stir again. Taste and adjust for sweetness; add more liqueur or a few tablespoons of sugar, as needed. Add ice and lemon-lime soda just before serving. Garnish each glass with a pineapple wedge and sprig of mint.
RASPBERRY ROSE SANGRIA
> 1 bottle of rosé wine
> 2 c. limes, strawberries, raspberries, sliced
> 1/2 c. citrus vodka
> 1/2 c. Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
> 1-2 c. ginger ale
> Fresh basil
In a large pitcher, pour vodka and raspberry liqueur over fruit; stir to combine. Let soak for up to one hour (optional). Add bottle of rosé wine; stir again. Taste and adjust for sweetness; add more liqueur or a few tablespoons of sugar, as needed. Add ice and ginger ale just before serving. Garnish each glass with a strawberry and sprig of basil.
RUBY RED SANGRIA
> 1 bottle of red wine
> 2 c. oranges, apples, blueberries, sliced
> 1 c. ruby red grapefruit juice
> 1/2 c. brandy or Cognac
> 1/2 c. Cointreau (orange liqueur)
> 1-2 c. club soda
In a large pitcher, pour grapefruit juice, brandy, and orange liqueur over fruit; stir to combine. Let soak for up to an hour (optional). Add bottle of red wine; stir again. Taste and adjust for sweetness; add more liqueur or a few tablespoons of sugar, as needed. Add ice and club soda just before serving. Garnish each glass with an orange slice.