I love wine and typically I am a purist, wanting to stick my nose in a glass and breathe in the aromas of the place where the grapes were grown, the seasons they saw and the soil they came from. But spring hits and I’m looking for something for a party that is a little less intellectual and a little more fun. That’s where sangria comes in. The great thing for me is, that I can still geek out, finding pairings to go with the wine for the sangria and riff on some great recipes.
We started testing some recipes for a white sangria, for a party coming up later this month.
I came across a great pin shared by Wine Enthusiast The Anatomy of Sangria which is perfect for giving you the basics to riff on! The base of sangria is wine, then you can add fruit, liquor, fruit juice, sweetener, a mixer and then garnish. This really is a wine cocktail.
I also came across a recipe on Pinterest for a cucumber melon sangria https://www.bhg.com/recipe/cucumber-sangria/ . So we did a play on the one recipe and created another, for testing and tasting to find a crowd-pleaser for our upcoming sangria and tapas party.
Based on the Cucumber Sangria recipe, we decided to try two styles with a sauvignon blanc as the base. I made a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, on the stove, bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves, then cool), and let it cool while we went shopping for ingredients. The great thing about this is that you can just roam the produce section and find things that speak to you of the winen you’ve decided to use. We picked up lemons and limes, which seemed a no-brainer with a sauvignon blanc. Of course we picked up a cucumber and honeydew melon for the recipe we had, and then a granny smith apple, lemon grass, mint, basil, starfruit & ginger. We had honey at home, as well as rum, triple sec and some sparkling water.
After chopping up all the ingredients, I settled on two blends.
Cucumber melon Sangria
- cucumber slices
- honeydew melon
- fresh mint
- sauvignon blanc
- triple sec
- simple syrup
- sparkling water
So because I was just doing a test, I used 1/2 bottle of wine. I used about a 1/4 each of the cucumber, lime and honeydew. The lime and cucumber I halved lengthwise and then sliced thinly, since I was not going to let this soak too long. The melon I just scooped with a spoon, but you could use a melon baller (as I probably will when I make a full batch). I used about 1 ounce of triple sec and 1/4 cup of simple syrup. I tossed the fruit in the carafe first, added the wine and then the triple sec and simple syrup and swished it a bit before tossing it in the fridge. The sparkling water gets added as it is served.
- granny smith apple
- lemon grass
- sauvignon blanc
- sparkling water
Again I used the remainder of the sav blanc and a quarter of the other fruits thinly sliced. This one gets called “starfruit” because it’s the showiest fruit in the glass. I layered the fruits in, added the basil (2 sprigs), lemon grass (1 piece cut in half) and ginger (which was peeled and sliced thinly and you only need a little, 4 or 5 small slices). I mixed the honey with the rum so the honey would incorporate into the liquid and not be globby and added it and the wine. Another swish and into the fridge.
I let them sit for maybe 30 minutes. Then I added a little ice to a couple of wine glasses, poured in the sangria and dug out some of the fruit from the carafe to go in the glass. We tasted first, then added sparkling water. The extra fizz really works nicely. The cucumber melon was perfect, which means you can make this fresh and serve almost immediately. The starfruit, probably needs a little more time to meld. It was a little tart, so perhaps more honey next time? And I think I like triple sec better than the rum in these white sangrias. I also think that I would add kiwi to this recipe in the future. I had skipped the kiwi this time, because I thought it would be too mushy, but in retrospect, it would have integrated into the wine and given it an added sweetness. All in all, it was lovely, but when you take a sip of the cucumber melon, you know you have found a crowd-pleaser. The melon adds a lovely sweetness, you still get this bright clean fragrance from the cucumbers and then the mint just knocks it out of the park. So we found our white sangria.
If you look at the Wine Enthusiasts Sangria Anatomy, you will note that I did not add a juice. I didn’t need one, I feel like I would be more likely to add juice to a red sangria, to help to cut the alcohol a bit,but really, you should do your own taste test and see what you like best.
There are so many options with Sangria, you can even leave fresh fruit and herbs out so that guests can mix their own. Grab a wine, find the flavors in it and create your own sangria recipe. Don’t forget to come back and share with us! I will be on to test a red recipe next!