Sangria! It seems like the unofficial drink of summer, doesn’t it? Why don’t I drink more of this? It’s delicious, ridiculously easy to make and improvise, perfect for a summer day, and, best of all, practically demands a party once you’ve stirred up a pitcher. This week, we used some in-season stone fruit – peaches, nectarines, and plums – to make one of many infinite Sangria possibile combinations. – Andrew
Illustration by Dinara Mirtalipova for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Summer Stone Fruit Sangria
1 Bottle Red Wine
4 oz Brandy
2 oz Lime Juice
2 oz Peach or Orange Liqueur
2 oz Simple Syrup
Plums, Nectarines, Peaches
Apples and Oranges (optional)
Core the apples, pit the stone fruit, chop them up and slice up the oranges. Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher, give it a stir, and, ideally, let it sit overnight. Just before you serve it, add more fresh fruit. Pour over ice and enjoy!
This Sangria is light and sweet, with just a bit of citrusy acidity, the fruitiness balanced nicely by the wine’s acidity and a kick from the Brandy. But one of the best parts about Sangria is that there’s really no way to get it wrong. You can use bold, fruity wines and dry, tannin-heavy wines. You can use pretty much any fruit you want, or juice, or fruit puree. You can add cardamom pods and vanilla beans and nutmeg. Or not, if you don’t feel like it. It’s all good.
Sangria, from the Spanish sangre for blood, was (as far as I can tell) introduced to America at the 1964 World’s Fair. But Sangria’s roots go back much farther, probably to the similarly named Sangaree, a drink that goes back to the 1730s and probably earlier. Back then, Sangaree was a strong wine punch made from sherry or port or Madeira wine with sugar, water, and nutmeg. By the mid-1800s, there were all sorts of Sangarees – gin, brandy, beer – but the drink was losing its popularity and has since faded away. So the Sangria we’re drinking is lighter than the original but is, in a lot of ways, a revival of the original wine punch Sangaree, which is pretty neat.
Other than how delicious it is on a hot day, my favorite aspect of Sangria is how social a drink it is–basically the only punch that most people might make these days and drink together with friends. Once upon a time, that’s how most Americans drank their booze, gathering around and slowly draining a common punch bowl. We stopped doing that back around 1800, when the speed of life outstripped the punch bowl’s languid pace and we started drinking cocktails instead–small, individual, convenient and quick. Now life is even faster than it was in 1800, and most people will never share a genuine punch bowl. Except that’s basically what a pitcher of Sangria is. So enjoy one with some friends this weekend.
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper