Today, there are exotic versions made with everything from sake to lychee fruit, but the appeal of a classic sangria has endured. The standard drink typically features red wine, fruit juice, club soda and an optional splash of brandy or eau-de-vie; however, it can be created with white wine or a rosé. The appeal of this punch is all about the pleasure of crafting a rustic, sweet-tart drink for everyone to share. Whether your gang likes it acidic, boozy, fruity, slightly bitter or sweet, by using the freshest ingredients, the best sangria will be as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye.
Try these recipes, but also have fun creating your own versions. Do be careful with the "punch" in your punch; it's easy to overdo it. If you make a second version without booze, you'll have a perfect summer cooler for abstainers, designated drivers and kids.
Cool white sangria
The best white sangrias are made with wines that haven't been aged in oak. If the wine is somewhat sweet with residual sugar, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. Brandy is fine for a red sangria, but for white versions, stick to clear spirits like eau-de-vie, gin, grappa, tequila or vodka. If you find you can taste the booze, you've added too much. Boost sweetness by using ginger ale in place of club soda and increase bitterness by using tonic water.
2 bottles (each 750 mL) Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or unoaked Chardonnay
1 cup white grape juice
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 nectarine, cut into thin wedges
1 tangerine, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup seedless white grapes, halved
1/4 cup white spirits, like vodka (optional)
1 cup club soda
In large pitcher, combine wine, grape juice and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add nectarine, tangerine and grapes; mix well. If you want to pump up the octane, add white spirits. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or longer. Stir in club soda and ice cubes just before serving.