According to my research (in other words, Wikipedia) the origin of Sangria, the famous wine punch of Spain, is a bit mysterious. It’s been around since at least the 18th Century, and the word itself either derives from the Spanish word for blood “sangre” due to the deep red of the wine, or the Sanskrit word “sakkari” meaning sugared wine. Both are believable – you be the judge. At any rate, according to legend, the ruby drink was first served in this country at the 1964 World’s Fair and has been popular ever since. Sangria is delicious all year round, but in late summer I’m inspired to lighten it up by using a white or rosé wine. It can be made with almost any combination of fruits, from oranges and apples to cantaloupe. Here, I’ve infused it with that summer fruit we all hanker for in July and are somewhat over – “Why is this taking up one third of the space in my refrigerator?” – by mid-August: watermelon. Strawberry provides additional color and sweetness and combines well with the cool flavor of watermelon. As for rosé, that darling of Instagram, whether you love it or look down your nose at it, the rise of its popularity is undeniable, and it makes a very refreshing sangria. Rosé is available from the sheerest pale pink to a deep rose depending on how long it has been macerated with the grape skins. Any reasonably priced rosé will do nicely, but if you’d like a more carmine final product, pick one with a darker hue. Jenn Conrad at Excantia, a wine shop on Route 55 just west of Pawling, recommends Lady of the Lakes Sparkling Blush, one of their most popular rosés, from the Finger Lakes region winery, Heron Hill. It has the benefit of an affordable price point, bubbles, and a mildly sweet profile. If you go with it, you may want to skip the added sugar in this recipe. It’s also perfect on its own, by the way – and totally Instagrammable.
Late Summer Rosé Sangria
1 bottle (750ml) Rosé of your choice, chilled
¼ cup Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
1 Tablespoon sugar or more to taste
Watermelon, cubed with or without rind
1. Dissolve sugar in Triple Sec
2. Add cubed watermelon and strawberries to a glass pitcher filling it about half way up.
3. Pour Triple Sec mixture over fruit, top with chilled rosé.
4. Add mint leaves and stir gently.
5. Refrigerate until ready to serve. It will taste even better chilled for a while allowing the flavors to blend.