the delights of summer…
sangria secrets

SangriaWant to spruce up your summertime entertaining in a delightful and delicious way? Master the art of sangria. If you’ve never tried really well made sangria, you’re in for a treat. The refreshing concoction of wine and fruit has become a summertime staple. Even better – it’s a great way to use up that opened bottle of wine and last week’s farmer’s market fruit.

Sangria tastes best when it sits for a day before serving to allow the flavors to mingle. You can make classic red, sweet rose or a crisp white sangria – either way, the mix of wine and fruit is beautiful in a clear glass pitcher. Unlike straight wine, sangria should be served icy cold – you can strain the ice out as they would in Spain, or follow the American tradition of allowing the ice to fall into the glass.

A pitcher of sangria just says “party” in a simple, elegant way. And it’s no wonder, the classic beverage is super simple to make. There are literally hundreds of recipes for sangria ranging from classic to wild interpretations.

When serving, if you are going to allow ice and fruit into the glass, you’re best choice is a largish wine glass, or even a low tumbler. If you will be straining the sangria, any pretty glass will do. Beverage dispensers aren’t well suited to sangria as the fruit clogs the nozzle. A classic punch bowl and ladle is one option for easy service, and a large-mouth, lidded apothecary jar is charming. A large pitcher with a narrow pour spout will help control how much ice and fruit get into each drink. But sangria looks its prettiest when served in a clear glass pitcher that shows off the colorful fruits.

For the wine, follow your personal tastes for sweet or dry, and don’t worry about getting something super nice. You’re going to be adding so much else to it, that this is a great place to use an inexpensive bottle. It’s also a great way to use up an open bottle. The main pitfalls with sangria are the balance of sugar and hard alcohol with the wine and using fruit that is too ripe – you want the fruit to be ripe, but not mushy. Which means  if you want to use older produce, just slip the fruit into the fridge before it gets too ripe.

It’s time to make some magic!

The Classic Red

When you say “sangria” this is what most people expect, only this is better.

  • 2 bottles red wine – a rich red like rioja, merlot, or even cabernet
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
  • 2 oranges – cut in half, then into thin slices
  • 2 lemons – cut in half, then into thin slices
  • 3 limes – cut into thin slices
  • 2 apples – cored and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • Ice

In a large container, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice and sugar. Stir till the sugar dissolves. Add the fruit, cover and refrigerate until well chilled (overnight if possible).

To serve, stir in the sparkling water, add ice and pour.

White Sangria

This is light, very pretty and super refreshing.

  • 2 bottles white wine – a crisp white like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • ¼ cup orange flavored liqueur
  • ½ cup white rum
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup white grape juice
  • 1 pound strawberries – hulled and sliced thin
  • ½ pound green seedless grapes – cut in halves
  • 3 peaches – pitted and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 4 kiwis – peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • Ice

In a large container, combine the wine, orange liqueur, rum, grape juice and sugar. Stir till the sugar dissolves. Add the fruit, cover and refrigerate until well chilled (overnight if possible).

To serve, stir in the sparkling water, add ice and pour.

Have some fun:

Get creative with garnishes – use slices of citrus fruit, top each glass with a cherry or strawberry, whatever you have on hand that makes for a pretty presentation. Or keep it simple and unadorned.

You can change up the fruit to whatever you have on hand, or whatever flavors appeal to  you. If you are using an already opened bottle of wine, you can substitute up to half a bottle of wine by mixing equal parts liqueur, juice and sparkling water. The two bottles of wine do not need to be the same wine!

Other possible fruits:

Red grapes, pear, nectarine, blackberries, star fruit, pineapple, even watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew.

One thought on “the delights of summer…
sangria secrets

  1. Pingback: Dreaming of a Sustainable Summer… how about a cold one? | inspired habitat

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