We can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend afternoon than kicking back on the porch with some friends and a pitcher of sangria. This sweet, wine-based punch has its roots in Spain and Portugal, where it’s typically served at casual get-togethers, but we like it for everything from elaborate dinner parties to impromptu barbecues.
So we called on the expertise of Dominique DeVito, co-owner, with her husband, Carlo DeVito, of Hudson-Chatham Winery in Ghent, New York. The DeVitos established their winery in 2006, and now grow their own grapes on four acres of vineyard. (They also believe in keeping it local, and bring in other fruits from New York State to round out their wines.)
Dominique loves sangria as a summer drink for its refreshing quality, its festive appeal, and its use of fresh, at-its-peak fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and nectarines (in addition to the traditional citrus fruits). “It’s kind of like drinking fruit salad and wine at the same time,” she says. For the winery’s annual Sangria Festival, Dominique and company brainstorm five original recipes for both traditional red sangria and sangria blanca. Although she’s graciously shared a couple here, she says “Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to recipes. Experiment; have fun. You can play with it all sorts of ways by changing the wines; adding seltzer or 7-Up, champagne, brandy, or tequila; and mixing different fruits.”
Summer Strawberry Sangria
1 container (12 oz) frozen lemonade mix
1 bottle (750 ml) Hudson-Chatham Ghent Blush (or Salmagundi or dry rosé)
3 cups cold water
1 quart (about 4 cups) sliced fresh strawberries
Thaw the frozen lemonade mix slightly and empty the container into a large pitcher. Add the wine and stir until the lemonade mix is dissolved. Add the water and 1 cup sliced strawberries; stir lightly to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, add additional strawberries in the pitcher or place some in wineglasses. Add ice cubes in the glasses, if desired, and top with the sangria.
Summer Berry Sangria
2 bottles (750 ml each) Hudson-Chatham Merlot
½ cup sugar
½ cup blackberry brandy
2 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries
1 cup diced fresh strawberries
Combine the wine, sugar, and brandy, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the fruits and refrigerate overnight. To serve, scoop some of the fruit into a wineglass, add some ice, and pour the wine over the top.
If you’re in the upstate New York area, visit the winery as it goes south of the border for the Fifth Annual Sangria Festival, a celebration of this classic fruit-and-wine combo. The event will feature five different sangrias, live flamenco guitar music by the incredible Maria Zemantauski and Jose Miralles, great Southwestern foods from Block Factory Tamales, and much more. August 4, 12:00 to 7:00 p.m.