Beaches, bonfires, and BBQs all share a common notion … a need for the appropriate cocktail to accompany them. In my humble opinion, Sangria may be the most versatile of cocktails for summer events.
With unlimited options for creativity in technique and variety of ingredients, the professional mixologist and the avid amateur can create something special that tantalizes their palate as well as complements the food on their menu.
Getting Reintroduced to Sangria
Let’s take a look at ancient history for a moment, circa 2003! Doug at the W Union Square, one of my favorite bartenders in NYC, reintroduced me to the true wonder of well-built Sangria! His version still lingers in my memory, truly great flavors that I enjoyed on a hot August afternoon!
Sangria, with a history dating back to 200 BC, has elevated its status to that of an elite cocktail. Top shelf mixologists from San Francisco to New York are designing their own versions of this ancient beverage, each with a unique twist that places a smile on the faces of their patrons.
Directions to some Great Sangria
The NY Times Eric Asimov’s take on Refreshing New Sangrias to Chase Away Bad Memories will displace any lingering nightmares; possibly from the 1964 World’s Fair in NY that many say introduced Sangria to America. Though I attended the event, I did not sample the beverage; they would not serve a seven year old no matter how much he attested to the fact that he was only trying to broaden his palate!
The Wine Enthusiast’s The Anatomy of Sangria is a guide to this cool summer beverage, it details the build process and list of ingredients. Food & Wine as well as The Kitchn have a well-defined crash course on the thought process behind making a great Sangria.
Some of Our Sangria Recipes
Don’t be afraid to experiment with these and make them your own!
Experiment No. 1
- The Wine – Sauvignon Blanc, Tocai or Pinot
- Fortification – Cachaca and Cointreau
- Eater’s guide to Cachaca, Brazil’s favorite Spirit
- Fruit – strawberries, lime juice
- A little spice – caramelized sugar and balsamic reduction simple syrup
- Garnish – strawberries, basil leaves
Experiment No. 2
- The Wine: Shiraz & Red Zinfandel
- Fortification – Brandy, Orange Liqueur, Lemon Liqueur
- Fruit – apples, red grapes
- A little spice – lemon thyme, star anise, bay leaves, Thai peppercorns
- Garnish – dried lemons & limes sliced very thin
Experiment No. 3
- The Wine – Rose & Rose Champagne
- Fortification – Cognac, Orange Liqueur, Lemon Liqueur
- Fruit – Meyer lemons, key limes & clementines
- A little spice – fresh peppermint, basil & white peppercorns
- Garnish – raspberries and blackberries
Sangria on the Go!
Here are some quick tips to take your Sangria to the beach …
- Start with good wine. Here is the best guide to Long Island Wines
- Choose your recipe. Schiller’s Liquor Bar Book has a well perfected set of Sangria recipes
- Sangria loves to age in the fridge, a few days to a few weeks [longer times may benefit from having the fruit removed]
- Use a good soft cooler filled with drink quality ice – we recommend Filson Coolers
- Never ice the cocktail until drink time
- Use stainless bottles and cups from Hydro Flask and one of their food containers for the garnish
- Make a spirit free version for the driver! Have a look at Julia Momose
If you’re still reading, I’m sure you have the drinking bit well in hand! So let’s cut to the chase and jump-start your summer adventures in mixology. Invite a dozen friends, fire up the Big Green Egg, and break out the Sangria.
May I suggest you follow Sylvia’s beach blog and find the perfect place for Sangria & Sunsets. When you get home, the grill will be ready and you will need another round of cocktails! Now that we have taken care of the thirsty part, next week we’ll move on to the grill!
We’re happy to share our beaches, bonfires, BBQs, and Sangria! Please contact us to book your stay.