White sangria is a bit of a paradox, because the word ‘sangria’ comes from the word ‘sangre’ meaning blood in Spanish, to refer to its red colour as it is usually made with red wine. But white sangria is a lovely thing, especially when the weather is warmer and it accompanies seafood dishes perfectly. Or served at a BBQ. Or just because. It now features as prominently in our lives from May to October as Pimms and lemonade with strawberries and cucumber.
I prefer to make white sangria with sparkling wine rather than white wine because the bubbles give it extra freshness and zing. You can use Prosecco (Italian), Cava (Spanish), Espumante (Portuguese), Crémant (French) or even Champagne if you are feeling self-indulgent. However, I am a bit of a purist when it comes to Champagne and personally don’t like mixing anything with it. Besides, there are very lovely sparkling wines from all over the world (some of them overtaking some Champagnes in some reviews), and are all more than perfectly suited for a jug of white fizzy sangria.
I also like white sangria with a ‘kick’, and by that I mean I always add some strong spirit to lift the whole thing up. And I get rewarded with smiles from my guests too ;-). Now in all seriousness, white sangria (and red sangria, for that matter) really come to life when ‘propped up’ by a stronger alcoholic drink (sometimes more than one), usually a brandy of some description. I turned to my faithful Port Wine (white, this time).
The recipe I post here is all about citrusy freshness. There are of course other possibilities for fruits and flavours but I can tell you this one really works. I have made it more than once and adjusted a few things every time. This was the last version and it was delicious.
A few little things that can make a difference:
– Dissolve the sugar in the orange juice + spirit mix (the non-fizzy liquids) as this way you don’t have to stir the fizzy drinks later, which will lose some of their bubbles as you try to dissolve the sugar in them.
– Put the fizzy drinks in the end so they don’t lose their bubbles as you add and mix ingredients. And tip them in carefully.
– Put the ice in the glasses and not in the jug because the ice will start melting in the jug and dilute the sangria. Eventually, you get left with a flat watery liquid that nobody wants. Unless, of course, you are planning to serve the whole thing in the first round. I still think having the ice in the glasses is easier. Make sure people wait a few minutes before drinking so that the sangria has become ice-cold.
– Don’t be tempted to buy large 2L bottle of lemonade/lemon soda unless you know you are going to use it all. Large bottles quickly lose their fizziness even if you close them tightly. Using flat lemonade ruins the whole thing, so buy small bottles or cans. This recipe uses 400-500 ml for 8-10 glasses.
– Avoid orange juice from concentrate, it’s too sweet and changes the dynamic of the sangria, especially when the emphasis is on freshness, zesty-ness and citrusy-ness. Use freshly squeezed juice or shop-bought juice that is not from concentrate. I used the latter and it wasn’t even a smooth version.
– Make sure everyone gets apple slices in their glass as you pour, as there is nothing more rewarding than sucking on/biting into a booze-impregnated piece of fruit as you sip on the liquid. Every little pleasure counts!
Best enjoyed outside 🙂