Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Sangría by the pool.

What do you drink lolling around the pool on a hot August afternoon? How about sangría, chilled red wine punch with fruit? Light and refreshing, sangría also goes well with party foods—ham and melon on picks, spicy meatballs, grilled mini-kebabs, fried chicken wings.

There are variations on the sangría theme. Add different fruits, make it more or less sweet, fortify with brandy or a favorite liqueur, change the type of wine—red, white, rosé or cava.

Should you dilute sangría with seltzer? For a lazy afternoon by the pool or an evening barbecue, you probably want to keep it light.

What kind of wine to use for sangría? Choose young wines with no time on oak. Personally, I like the unaged tempranillo wines from La Mancha and Valdepeñas for mixing sangría. They are fresh and fruity at remarkably low cost.

Here are some variations on the sangría theme.

Sangría variations.

Tinto de verano
Summertime Red Wine Cooler

Red wine with fizzy gaseosa, a not-too-sweet citric soda, this is a summertime red wine cooler, a drink that’s served in bars all over Spain. It’s even served with tapas.

Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour over red wine, top with gaseosa, a not-too-sweet citric soda, or any lemon soda. Add a slice of lemon.

Red Wine Sangría

Serves 8 to 10.

Sangría makes a great party drink and can be mixed in large quantities. Use any combination of fruit—strawberries, oranges, apples, pears and grapes are some of the best. (Apples float, oranges sink.) Dilute the sangría to taste with seltzer or soda water.

¼ cup sugar
Strip of orange zest
1 cup water
2 cups chopped or sliced fruit
4 tablespoons brandy or liqueur such as Cointreau
1 bottle chilled red wine
2 ½ cups chilled seltzer

Combine the sugar in a small saucepan with the zest and water. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes. Allow the sugar syrup to cool. Strain it into a  pitcher. Discard the orange zest.

Add the fruit and brandy to the pitcher. The fruit can macerate, refrigerated, up to 2 hours. Add the chilled red wine. Immediately before serving, add chilled seltzer to taste.

Serve the sangría and fruit in glasses or goblets.

Watermelon sangría.
Sangría de Sandía
Watermelon Sangría

Prepare this colorful wine punch in advance and chill it. Or, if preferred, mix it and serve immediately over ice cubes.

Serves 8.
3 tablespoons sugar
Strip of orange zest
½ cup water
2 lbs ripe watermelon
3 tablespoons Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 bottle dry white wine, well chilled
A few strawberries, grapes or peeled pear
Sprigs of mint

Place the sugar and zest in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and cool. Discard the orange zest.

Remove seeds and green rind from the watermelon. Puree the flesh in a blender or food processor. Sieve the puree and place in a pitcher with the sugar syrup, Cointreau or Triple Sec, and white wine. Chill the sangría.

Serve the sangría, over ice if desired, garnished with strawberries, grapes, pear or other fruit and mint sprigs.

White wine cooler.
White Wine Cooler

In La Mancha, this wine drink is mixed in big ceramic bowls and dipped into small cups to serve.
Serves 6.

1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
Sprigs of fresh mint
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 bottle dry white wine, chilled
1 apple, chopped
1 peach, chopped
Seltzer, to taste
Ice cubes (optional)
Additional mint sprigs for garnish

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add the mint and half of the lemon and orange slices. Let steep at least 30 minutes.

Strain into a pitcher or punch bowl and add the wine, remaining lemon and orange slices, and apple and peach. Dilute to taste with seltzer.  Serve in tall glasses or cups, with ice, if desired. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Sangría by the pool.


  1. Fabulous! Alex and I were thinking we'd make some soon for a little trip down memory lane :)