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8/19/2014 11:41 AM grooming • 0 Comments

Sipping Sangria

Sangria is one of those cocktails that’s best known for its most mediocre varieties. A Spanish, wine-based punch, it’s a popular summertime drink at all sorts of bars and restaurants. The standard ingredients include wine, brandy, triple sec or other liqueur, fruit juice, sliced fruit and often sparkling water or other carbonated beverages. Unfortunately it’s usually made with cheap wine, sickeningly sweet fruit juices and little else, leaving us with a recipe for a bad hangover.


It’s true for all cocktails, but especially true with sangria: the quality of the ingredients you put in will determine the quality of cocktail you drink. Don’t go for the cheapest wine unless you prefer to drink really cheap wine. Don’t use canned, sugar-added fruit juices—use fresh juice if you can. The added cost of quality is unquestionably worth it, as quality elevates pedestrian cocktails to stratospheric levels.


My favorite sangria recipe is actually for a white sangria. The switch to white sangria is usually a big change for my guests and gets them off on the right foot (that is, not thinking of the cheap sangrias they’ve had in the past). It uses cachaça, a Brazilian sugar cane spirit similar to rum, and pisco, a South American grape-based brandy. It also has St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, a delightfully sweet and floral spirit that's popular in many craft cocktail bars.


Sangria Blanco

  • 375 ml cachaça
  • 375 ml pisco
  • 375 ml St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
  • 125 ml fresh lime juice
  • 750 ml semi-sweet white wine (Riesling works well)
  • 750 ml white cranberry juice
  • 375 ml soda water


Add ingredients to an ice filled pitcher and stir. Garnish with sliced kiwi, grapes, apple, cucumber, lime wheels, and fresh sage leaves.


White cranberry juice can sometimes be hard to find. If you can’t find straight white cranberry juice, you can substitute a blended white cranberry and peach juice or swap in white grape juice.