Hosting Series: Two Stellar Summer Sangrias That We Tested Just for You

It was a huge burden, but we went through the trouble of testing out two new sangria recipes for you, our readers. 

What does sangria have to do with kaftans? Well, first I will direct you to our previous post where we wax poetic about the link between being the host(ess) with the most(ess) and kaftans. In short, sangria is a celebration of Summer, refreshing and full of fruit, and it's a great drink for a group of friends. If celebrating Summer with a group of friends while radiating as an elegant yet comfortable host(ess) in your kaftan isn't living the Kaftan Life, I don't know what is. 

Have we all agreed that this is a long enough preamble? Let's move on the recipes!

A quick note: We use gallon containers from Dollar General to mix and store our sangria. They are NOT attractive serving vessels, but they are perfect for transporting our sangria to a party. When hosting at home, we suggest a glass pitcher.

White Sangria

Allow me to preface our white sangria recipe by saying: the sangria you're used to drinking is probably trash. It's far too easy to dump 4-5 tablespoons of sugar, some OJ, and a bottle of wine together, add some superfluous chunks of fruit, and end up with a monotone, saccharine drink that tastes like a hangover and whose only whisper of refreshment comes from the ice cubes floating in it.

This is not that sangria. This sangria is all about layering sweet, sour, bitter, and savory flavors to create a summery cocktail that's velvety smooth, crisp, dry and refreshing. It's also a little outside of the box in that it doesn't feature citrus. Is it the best white sangria in the world?

We certainly think so, and no one's proven us wrong yet.

White sangria ingredients

White Sangria Ingredients:

  • 1.5 L pinot grigio (one big bottle or two 750ml bottles as pictured) Note: Don't splurge on expensive wine for sangria.
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) ginger beer (not ginger ale)
  • 2 medium peaches, diced into ~1/2" pieces
  • 1 red apple, diced into ~1/2" pieces
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 10-12 basil leaves (attached to the stem is best; more for garnish if desired)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar (or more to taste)
  • (optional) club soda for topping off

White sangria fruit before and after

Look at all of that healthy fruit!

White Sangria Directions: 

  1. The night before your party, mix together all ingredients except for your ginger beer. To minimize splashing, we suggest dicing your fruits and placing them in your sangria vessel before pouring the liquids over them. Cover/close the container and let chill in the refrigerator overnight. IMPORTANT: Never make sangria right before a party -- it needs to marinate.
  2. The day of the party, just before guests arrive, fish out the basil. Add the ginger beer and stir.
  3. Sample your sangria. If it's too sweet for your liking, add an ounce or two of additional brandy, re-sample, and repeat as needed. Brandy acts as a flavor combiner and cuts the sweetness. If, on the other hand, your sangria isn't sweet enough, mix in more granulated sugar 1/2 tbsp at a time until you've achieved your desired sweetness. How much brandy or sugar you choose to add will depend on the sweetness/ripeness of the fruit, so it's worth dialing in this delicate balance for each batch.
  4. Serve in wine glasses over ice. Top with club soda for additional fizz. Garnish with additional basil if desired. Make sure that each glass gets some fruit!

Red Sangria

Now, we usually make a white and a red sangria for our summer get-togethers. As much as everyone loves the white sangria recipe above, this red sangria is always the first to disappear.

It's mainly because of the cherries. Cherries might seem like an unusual and painstaking sangria ingredient because of the pits. But the pits are actually pretty easy to remove. Our pitting weapon of choice is a bendy straw from an old adult-sippy-cup-style travel tumbler.

Once pitted and halved, the cherries lend a wonderfully rich flavor to your sangria, and the cherry halves themselves become even tastier as they soak in your sangria.

The other unusual ingredient in this recipe that everyone loves is the rosemary. It lends a wonderfully refreshing aroma that hits you even before your first sip. More importantly, as with our white sangria, this recipe is all about balancing flavors--not just sweetening up a bottle of wine--and the rosemary serves as a counter-balance to the rich, dark sweetness of the cherries and blackberries.

Red Sangria

Red Sangria Ingredients:

  • 1.5 L pinot noir (one big bottle as pictured or two 750ml bottles) Note: Don't splurge on expensive wine for sangria.
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) ginger beer
  • 1/2 cup brandy (or more to taste)
  • 6 oz blackberries or raspberries (one small carton)
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges
  • 18-20 cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1-2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar (or more to taste)
  • (optional) club soda for topping off

Red Sangria Directions: 

  1. The night before your party, mix together all ingredients except for your optional club soda. To minimize splashing, we suggest placing your fruits into your sangria vessel before pouring the liquids over them. Cover/close the container and let chill in the refrigerator overnight. (Note: with this recipe, unlike our white sangria, we suggest adding the ginger beer before chilling. The ginger flavor will infuse with the blackberries/raspberries!)
  2. The day of the party, just before guests arrive, fish out the rosemary.
  3. Sample your sangria. If it's too sweet for your liking, add an ounce or two of additional brandy, re-sample, and repeat as needed. Brandy acts as a flavor combiner and cuts the sweetness. If, on the other hand, your sangria isn't sweet enough, mix in more granulated sugar 1/2 tbsp at a time until you've achieved your desired sweetness. How much brandy or sugar you choose to add will depend on the sweetness/ripeness of the fruit, so it's worth dialing in this delicate balance for each batch.
  4. Serve in wine glasses over ice. Top with club soda for additional fizz. Make sure that each glass gets some fruit!

Delicious red sangria featuring oranges, blackberries, cherries and rosemary

You now have the tools to create this masterpiece. The rosemary in this photo is just for staging. Please do not serve your guests entire plants in their beverages.

BONUS: Upgrade your red sangria with plums!

When they're in season, plums make for a superb red sangria ingredient. Try using 1-2 diced plums in place of the orange listed in the recipe, and if you find that you miss the citrus, add a few ounces of lime juice before serving. We've tried the red sangria recipe above with both black and red plums in place of orange, and it's wonderful.

Happy sangria making! Share your own sangrias with us on Instagram @kaftanlife.

Like this post? Pin it!

Pin: Kaftan Life Hosting Series - Two Stellar Summer Sangrias That We Tested Just for You


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published