In my prior post A BBQ Wine Battle Royale – Costco vs. Trader Joe’s Zinfandels I promised that I would share my secret recipe for making quick, easy and refreshing Sangria. The secrets shall be revealed here…
When you research what it takes to witch up a batch of sangria from scratch, you are basically looking at four categories of ingredients beyond wine: brandy, sugar; fruit juice(s) and bubbles, the latter from club soda. More exotic recipes call for the addition of more alcohol in the form of Triple Sec and/or Grand Marnier.
I have made some of these more complex recipes for large family gatherings and have discovered that they are expensive, time-consuming, messy and intoxicating. This recipe mitigates all of of those things, but still will ring your Sangria bell when you’re lounging around the patio or pool this summer.
Readily available cans of Pellegrino soda are the perfect surrogate for all those other ingredients. You get the sugar, the fruit and the bubbles. What you don’t get is the additional alcohol, which is a good thing since Sangria goes down very easily when it’s hot and sunny. The addition of an alcohol free soft drink effectively decreases the alcohol by volume (ABV) of the resulting beverage. When used in equal parts, that knocks a 14% wine down by half, yielding a delicious beverage that will be around 7% ABV. You’re welcome!
The recipe is simple. Equal parts Pellegrino and wine served over ice. If you’re making white Sangria I like to pair the white wine with complementary flavors of grapefruit (Pompelmo) or lemon (Limonata). For red Sangria, I pair red wine with orange flavors, of which there are two: Aranciata and Aranciata Rossa, the latter being the blood orange flavor. However, I admit that using the blood orange soda with white wine results in a really pretty salmon-colored concoction. If you’re feeling ambitious, garnish with a slice of citrus and maybe a sprig of mint.
Another nice thing about this recipe, and Sangria in general, is that it’s a great way to “re-purpose” wines that you might not otherwise fully enjoy. In fact, the two wines that were blended into the glasses above underwhelmed me. The red was the OZV Zinfandel that was reviewed in my prior post. The white wine was a Trader Joe’s-sourced Monique Sauvignon Blanc that I didn’t fancy either. But when enhanced with magical Pellegrino elixir and transformed into a super simple Sangria, their imperfections were masked and the results were a refreshingly quaffable summer sipper.