Summertime is so close you can almost taste it! Juicy and sweet, just like the fresh fruit that will soon tempt us from farmer's market stalls, our CSA hauls, and berry picking day trips with our gal pals! Is there anything better than sinking your teeth into a nice, healthy piece of fruit in the very field it was grown in??
Uh, YES THERE IS: You could drown that fruit in a pitcher of wine and pour some sugar over it. That, my friends, is the best way to eat fruit! Get out them big glass pitchers, it's SANGRIA SEASON! As for me, I never met a sangria I didn't like-like. I've made many sangrias in my lifetime and, in my defense, some were successful! Others... let's just say I wasn't reading the labels of the bottles and I accidentally poured in an entire bottle of 100-proof whiskey, creating what can only be described as a "fruit cocktail with hallucinogenic properties," but at least nobody fell off the dock, and I don't want to talk about my 30th birthday, because I'm done apologizing! Right? Right. ANYHOO, sangria is VERY EASY to make as long as you pay attention to what you're doing (I don't want to talk about it!) and have a basic recipe! Here are nine vastly different sangria recipes (in red, white, and rosé!) to save you from making a sangria disaster like I DID:
Classic sangria uses red, red wine (go to my head), so that's the key player in this Classic Spanish Sangria from Allrecipes. Citrus, sugar, and rum make this sangria anything but subtle: three words that will probably also apply to me after a couple of glasses. If you've never eaten an orange that's been marinating in alcohol for hours, you don't know what you're missing. I shed a single, silent tear for you.
Emma over at A Beautiful Mess conjures up an unusual combination in this Plum and Grape Red Sangria. It looks so easy and makes a full pitcher, which might even be enough to share. Juuuuuuuust maybe. "But Meghan, isn't it redundant to put grapes in wine? Wine is made from grapes." To which I say, YOU'RE REDUNDANT. I'm sorry, that's mean. I just really like plums, okay?
Burned into my memory forever is one red wine cherry sangria I enjoyed many goblets (!) of in a small vegan café on the Upper East Side. Stephanie at Sarcastic Cooking's recipe for Bourbon Cherry Vanilla Sangria gives you the Proustian memory recall, minus the long train ride from Brooklyn -> UES. Ride downtown on the 6, transfer to the E to Court Square to the G? Uhhmmm no thank you. The furthest I want to travel is from my couch to the fridge to get another glass, mmmmmmmmmkay? Dark, brooding, and intense: me and this sangria have those three in common. Warning: between the red wine and cherries, this might stain everything it touches. Okay, so we have four things in common.
Fun fact: I planted a bunch of herbs back in February with the sole intention of using them in my cocktails, and the only seedlings that survived were the basil. I currently have no fewer than nine flourishing basil plants on every available sunny surface of my kitchen, and they're starting to get out of control! I could totally take my basil babies down a few notches with this TOO-EASY White Wine Sangria with Strawberry Basil, via Relish. There's only a handful of ingredients! If you don't have a strawberry eye-gouger, GET YOU ONE! And a lemon! And a bottle of Sauvignon-Blanc! And then put it all together! And you've got sangria! You win at life!
This Mango-Peach Sangria via Food & Wine uses white wine to enhance the crisp tartness of both the tangy fruits. Mango and peach are great on their own, like Tina Fey and Amy Pohler. But together, they're even BETTER, like if Tina Fey and Amy Pohler MADE OUT! Um, what? Don't mind me.
I'm really intrigued by the Mint Citrus White Wine Sangria by The Minimalist Baker, in the same way that I might be intrigued by a shift dress that I'll try on even though I'm not sure it will look good on me, only to discover HEY, this actually might be my bag, baby! My boyfriend prefers a "minerally white," which would be an interesting choice to play against the tingly mint taste and the tart citrus (and babe, if you're still reading, sorry again for getting everyone shitfaced on that awful sangria at the cabin two years ago, forgive me yet?).
... And Of Course, Rosé
If the hyphenate "Watermelon-Strawberry" conjures up fond memories of Jolly Ranchers, Ring Pops, and Fruit by the Foot, then have I got a sangria for you! Bobby Flay's Watermelon-Strawberry Sangria employs that most basic of summer wines, rosé — alongside vodka, the booze that makes me dance better, and orange juice, which is good for you(?). Being an adult means drinking beverages that taste like liquid candy and help you forget that you're responsible for your own being and welfare (internal cringe) so CHEERS!
Martha Stewart knows what's up. Her Citrus and Melon Rosé Sangria sounds crisp and refreshing without being overly cloying (the most common fear when it comes to sangria: that it will be too heavy or too sweet). If you (like me) suffer from a lifelong aversion to cantaloupe, switch out for honeydew! As Queen Martha would say, "It's a good thing."
Epicurious serves up a Berry Rosé Sangria using rosé wine and — yeah, you're gonna have to get a bottle of crème de cassis, but then you could tell everyone, "Hercule Poirot loved crème de cassis," and they'll be all, "Whhhaaaaaa???" and "Wow, you're so smart!" and then you'll have fun playing with your crème de cassis in all your other drinks so, win-win-win!
Okay, but maybe you're a Rebel Without A Recipe, and you want to go rogue? Epicurious gives you all the knowledge you'll need to customize your own sangria — turns out it's a little more complicated than I might have first thought, but once you have the knowledge, you'll never endanger a group of your friends in a remote cabin in the Adirondacks with a perilously potent sangria over your 30th birthday weekend I said I was sorry, okay??? That was two years ago, I'm older and wiser now, and I have all these recipes. Are we confident? YES! Are we putting our phones in airplane mode so we can't drunkenly post embarassing shit to Facebook? YES! Are we ready for sangria?!? Whaddaya say? YES!!
lead image by Divya Thakur on flickr
More from BUSTGhosts, Murders and Mayhem Walking Tours. She is open-minded about everything, but intolerant to gluten. She blogs at meghansara.com, is a regular contributor to Femnasty, and tweets her feelings @MeghanSaraK.