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Summer Punch- My Best Recipe for Sangria

Summer Stone-Fruit Sangria

Summer is about to show its pretty little face. Here in Los Angeles we are drowning in sunshine. May Gray and June Gloom showed up in April this year. Sunny skies and the happy faces around me put me in the mood to pull out my favorite recipe for sangria. I don’t do that unless I have a serious summer bee in my bonnet.

My recipe for sangria is not really mine. I adapted it from Susan Spungen several summers ago. It’s hardly traditional. Purists might even prefer to call this a summer punch. But the word sangria is so associated with summer that the bee in my bonnet refuses to call this libation anything but sangria. I think this version is perfect for simple summer entertaining precisely because it’s so simple. It’s also light, refreshing and made with quality ingredients. I’ve seen many a recipe for sangria that call for any old wine boldly spiked with cheap brandy– evoking memories of Boone’s Farm. I like the this recipe for sangria because it features rosé wine and is fortified with the lighter touch of elderflower liqueur. Which adds a luxurious floral whiff– perfectly suited for summer (and the bees in my bonnet).

Traditionally sangria is a red wine punch originating in the south of Spain, where it’s often called zurra. It developed as a red wine punch because the conquering Romans believed that red grape varietals produced the best wine. Thus red grapes were planted wherever they would grow in the Roman Empire. Red wine sangria (named after blood) became the accepted version. These days red wine sangria in the heat of summer too often spells headache to me. You know the headache I mean– The Hangover Headache. But sangria does not have to be sickly sweetened and stretched out with cheap wine, these are modern times and our choices are far greater.

I like this beautifully colored sangria because it’s intensely flavored with a stone-fruit purée, making it well-suited for sunny summers in Los Angeles. It doesn’t really matter what kind of stone-fruit you choose. So pick the ripest, most fragrant stone-fruit you can find. If peaches aren’t looking so great yet choose super seasonal apricots or plums instead. Cherries are stone fruit too. This recipe for sangria is adorned with plenty of them. I recommend that you chill the sangria a good long time before serving; the flavor will improve the longer it sits. GREG

stone-fruit sangria

Summer Sangria with Stone-Fruit and Cherries

Print This Recipe Total time Yield Source Adapted from Susan SpungenPublished
Summer sangria

Ingredients

  • 3 pound mixed stone-fruit such as plums, necatarines and peaches, divided
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 (750-ml bottles) rosé
  • 1 ½ cup St. Germain
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 25 fresh cherries halved and pitted
  • sparkling water as needed (optional)

Directions

Make the fruit purée: Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Using the tip of a paring knife, make 2 shallow 1″ cuts to form an X on the bottom of 1 pound of the mixed-fruit, set the rest of the fruit aside. Add the 1 pound of fruit to water and cook just until skin begins to pucker at the X, about 60 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fruit to a medium bowl of ice water; let cool. Using a paring knife and your fingers to peel the fruit. Halve, pit, and coarsely chop.

Place peeled, chopped fruit in a mini-processor or blender; add lemon juice. Purée until smooth. Transfer to a very large pitcher or punch bowl.

Make the sangria: Add rosé, St. Germain and vanilla to fruit purée in pitcher or punch bowl. Halve and pit the remaining mixed unpeeled stone-fruit. Then cut it into ½” wedges. Add the cut mixed stone-fruit and the halved, pitted cherries to the pitcher or punch bowl. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Fill glasses with ice; pour in sangria and fruit to fill glasses 2/3 full. Top with sparkling water (if using). Stir and serve.