Sangria: The Perfect Party Drink

Why Sangria, you ask? Sangria happens to be the most versatile adult beverage you can offer at a party. It can be white, red, pink, dry, sweet, boozy, or light. It’s always refreshing, and it’s always delicious. A drink for the masses. My favorite sangrias happen to be made from rosé wine, but for the sake of pleasing more of you I’m going to give you a couple of white recipes to help you with your oncoming Welcome Spring festivities.

One of the reasons that I love serving sangria so much is the inability to mess it up. There are a few basic guidelines to follow, but other than that it’s pretty dang fun to make.

Guideline #1

Eat something before you make a batch of sangria. You will need to taste it, a lot of it, so it’s best to do so with some food in your belly so you can be sure that Tipsy You doesn’t settle for an unworthy batch.

Guideline #2

Make the sangria the day of your party, and don’t put the fruit in there to marinate. It sounds fun, but it doesn’t age as well as you think. Plus, it’s prettier as a garnish when the fruit is fresh looking.

Guideline #3

Decide before you start concocting how drunk you want your guests to get. Is this a daytime party? Is it by the pool? If people will be guzzling your drink down you may want to keep it less boozy, and less sweet. Those two things are a pretty bad combo in the heat of the sun. If it’s during the evening feel free to add some more booze.

Ok, so let’s talk recipes! I tend to not follow a strict recipe when making sangria because each batch may be a bit different. There is an endless variety of deliciousness so repeating yourself is no fun. With white sangrias I usually use either a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc as my base. Choose Pinot Grigio if you want a fruitier sangria, and choose Sauvignon Blanc if you want it more refreshing and zesty. These recipes will make enough for 5 to 10 people to drink plenty, so adjust as you see fit.

Fruity White Sangria

  • 2 bottles of Pinot Grigio
  • 2 cups of Pear Vodka
  • Buy ½ gallons of pineapple juice and orange juice and start with just under half of each in your batch.
  • One liter of Spite or something comparable
  • One liter of Club Soda
  • And now the fun part: taste it! Add more pineapple juice if you want it sweeter; add more orange juice if it needs more pop; add more club soda if you want it to be lighter and last longer.
  • As for the fruit garnish, blueberries, maraschino cherries, and chunks of mango and pineapple are fun. Avoid raspberries and strawberries and any other fruit that gets weird when it’s water logged. Keep the fruit on the side and add it in with a ladle when serving. If you need to put some in the batch for good looks, add some sliced orange with the rind and blueberries.

Refreshing Zesty White Sangria

  • 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc (any from New Zealand or Chile are great)
  • 2 cups Grapefruit vodka
  • Follow the same instructions from above with the half gallons of juice, but this time stick to grapefruit (pink or white depending on how sweet you want it; pink grapefruit is sweeter and white is tangier) and orange; buy a small bottle of fresh squeezed lime juice but only add that in after you start tasting
  • One liter of Sprite
  • One liter of Club Soda
  • Mix, taste, add orange juice and Sprite if you want it sweeter and grapefruit and lime if it needs more zest.
  • Garnishes can include grapefruit and orange segments, pineapple, apple pieces, maraschino cherries and blueberries

Remember to have fun! Making sangria is really just as fun as drinking it; it’s kind of like a party science experiment. Try different vodkas and juices. Throw a peach puree in with the Pinot Grigio recipe occasionally to mix it up. Grand Marnier and Apricot Brandy are also pretty good as substitutions for vodka, but remember that can get people pretty drunk and it will make your sangria pretty sweet. If that’s what you want, balance it out with more Club Soda and less Sprite. And remember, you can’t mess it up! Just keep tasting and adding and I promise you, your guests will love it! Just be ready for your friends to task you with making the sangria for their Soirées!

More about Maureen Sciutto can be found here.

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