Sangria, a wine punch famous as a hot-weather cooler in Spain and infamous as a popular way to get rid of the leftover dregs of post-party bottles, is worth getting to know regardless of the season.
The name “sangria” derives from the Spanish word for blood, sangre, and it earns that name with the ruby tone it gets from the red wine that forms its base. Sangria blanco, or white sangria, is made with white wine, either still or sparkling.
Sangria has come a long way since its rise to popularity in the United States during the 1970s, when it was a feature at backyard barbecues and almost always resembled an overly sweet wine cooler fizzing with orange soda. Modern formulations of sangria have helped this festive party beverage evolve into a respectable wine cocktail. Today’s versions often feature innovative flavor combinations, pairing fruit and herbs with sparkling wines and champagnes, artisanal liquors, and less sugar.
Pineapple Basil Golden Sangria
This is a sunny sangria that’s perfect for a midsummer picnic. Herbal notes complement the sparkling white wine and the sweetness of fresh pineapple.
- 3 cups white grape juice
- 1/2 cup Cointreau or Drambuie
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar or honey
- 2 kiwifruits, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 seedless orange, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 bottle (750 ml) Prosecco or other sparkling white wine
In a large pitcher, combine grape juice, Cointreau, and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Add kiwifruits, orange and lemon slices, pineapple, and basil and mint leaves. Chill for at least 1 hour.
To serve: Add Prosecco to pitcher and stir; pour over ice in glasses, garnish with basil leaf if desired, and serve. Goes well with any of the recipes featured in our Hawaiian Guide to Eating Pineapple.
Kiwi-Citrus White Sangria
Light, bright, and bubbly, this elegant sangria features kiwifruit and citrus slices. Serve this one at your next brunch for a welcome change from mimosas.
- 4 kiwifruits, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced
- 1 lemon, washed and sliced
- 1 lime, washed and sliced
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1 bottle (750 ml) vinho verde or other sparkling white wine
- 2 cups seltzer
In a large pitcher, combine sliced kiwifruits, lemon and lime slices, and sugar. Add wine and seltzer and stir.
To serve: Pour over ice in glasses, garnish with lemon and kiwi slice.
Blueberry Limoncello Sangria
The beautiful jewel tones of this classic red sangria reveal an unconventional pairing of lemon and blueberry with sparkling red wine. This robust sangria is perfect to serve alongside grilled meats.
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1 lemon, washed, halved lengthwise, and sliced
- 2 cups blueberry-cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup limoncello
- 1 bottle (750 ml) lambrusco or other sparkling red wine
Place blueberries in a large pitcher. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the berries. Sprinkle sugar over the berries and add lemon slices. Add juice and limoncello and stir. Refrigerate at least four hours.
To serve: Add lambrusco to pitcher, stir, and pour over ice in glasses.
Fresh and sparkling, a real crowd-pleaser. This delightful sangria goes perfectly with seafood or grilled poultry. Try it as a lively stand-in for margaritas.
- 2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 bottle (750 ml) pink champagne or sparkling rosé wine
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 limes, washed and sliced
- 2 cups seltzer or sparkling water
Combine halved strawberries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature.
Place cooled strawberries and syrup in blender or food processor and process until almost smooth. Press through a strainer into a pitcher; discard leftover seeds and pulp in strainer.
Add champagne, sliced strawberries, limes, and seltzer. Pour over ice in glasses to serve.
Photos courtesy of the author except lead photo by colonnade.