Here’s the scene: A group of fine folks are coming over and you want to have a drink at the ready when they walk in. A cocktail is a festive option, but you’ll be in the kitchen shaking until your arm throbs and everyone will be ready for Round Two by the time you’ve added the cherry to the last of Round One. Wine is also nice, but doesn’t scream “PARTY!” in the same way a cocktail does. Enter sangria. It’s like wine’s flamboyant and fun cousin. (Not the needy cousin who requires hours to prep and demands your undivided attention — oh no, sangria is festive, fuss-free and best if you make it ahead.)
Sangria recipes vary widely. Traditionally, they start with a base of red wine (although white wine is common as well). Citrus slices and their juice are often added along with a bit of sugar and brandy. But, really, when it comes to sangria there are no hard and fast rules. Well, maybe one: There must be wine.
This recipe uses summer’s finest in fragrance and flavor: stone fruits, muddled with a bit of sugar and then capped with a dry rose and and even rosier splash of Aperol. It’s sweet, but not too much so, and full of bright floral flavor. I like to top the pitcher with a bit of sparkling water to give it a few tongue tickling bubbles.
This is the very recipe I make when my summer table will be filled with friends for an impromptu picnic potluck or what I take in a pitcher when the invite calls for BYOB. It’s quick to throw together and as with most things worth having in life, this sangria is better after it has a chance to rest. If Rose isn’t your thing, you can easily substitute with a Pinot Noir or some other medium bodied red. If white wine is your jam, use something aromatic with a bit of crispness like a Pinot Gris.
Stone Fruit Sangria
1 1/2 pounds stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries), pits removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup sugar
1 bottle dry Rose
1/2 cup Aperol
2 cups sparkling water
In a large pitcher add the stone fruit slices along with the sugar. Use a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon to gently “bruise” the fruit and blend it with the sugar so it starts to encourage the fruit’s natural juices and sugar to come out.
Add the rose and aperol.
Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
Just before serving, top with sparkling water and give a final stir.
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