R5 Party in a Pitcher

A little wine, a splash of juice, some chopped fruit, a spritz of something fizzy, lots of ice, and—viola!—instant celebration. From sangria’s humble roots in Spain, this signature aromatic punch has grown to become a popular, refreshing party drink, especially when paired with a group of friends. For some, the recipe’s success lies in its marinated chunks of fruit; for others, it’s about mixing it up with different liquors and experimenting. Lucky for us, there are no rules and no one definitive recipe for this wine/cocktail hybrid, meaning you can enjoy each and every variation the County offers. From tall glasses brimming with seasonal slices to carafes filled to the rim with flavorful concoctions, you’ll find a wide range of choices in summer red, white, green, and blue.

Easy Being Green

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Green Sangria: Don Coqui (115 Cedar St, New Rochelle 914-637-3737. $9 glass; $40 pitcher; a traditional red and white are also on the menu) To those who question green sangria, we ask, why not? This citrusy affair, backed by festive music and large platefuls of Puerto Rican food, offers a bolder, breezier alternative to the traditional red or white). Here, the wine, fruit, and brandy swirl together in a spot-on balance that is bracing and invigorating. We like it accompanied by a heaping portion of paella and a large group of friends for the ultimate flavor-fun-fest.

 

(Serves 8 to 10)
2 bottles white wine
1 cup coconut rum
1 cup banana piña rum
1 cup melon liquor
½ cup brandy
½ cup peach schnapps
½ cup Triple Sec
½ cup pineapple juice
2 oranges, cut in cubes
2 green apples, cut in cubes
seltzer

Mix ingredients in a pitcher. To serve, pour over ice in a wine glass and top with a splash of seltzer.

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Get the Blues

Tiki Blue Sangria (previous page): Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar (1 Playland Pkwy, Rye 914-967-1020; available by the glass ($8, 16 oz) or pitcher ($28, 90 oz); they also do a traditional red and white as well as a “sangrita,” a layered combination of sangria and frozen margarita) Yes, it’s a little showy, and yes, it’s a little kitschy, but that’s what we love about it. How can you resist the assortment of tall blue, red, orange, and purple straws that practically beg you to sip from them while pastel-colored gummy fish share the rim with giant pieces of pineapple and strawberry? This come-hither variation is pure fun and flashiness. And though the hype over the presentation is certainly there, so is the taste: the bright citrus flavor of lemons, oranges, plus peaches and strawberries offer a refreshing blast to the palate—just the thing to help wash down your coconut shrimp and get in that island frame of mind.

(Serves 8 to 10)
2 bottles of Albarino white wine
seasonal fruit, sliced (peaches, apples, oranges, strawberries, and pineapple)
½ cup peach schnapps
½ cup Triple Sec
½ cup apricot brandy
½ cup orange juice (fresh squeezed)
â…“ cup Blue Curacao Swedish Fish, Chuckles, or other jelly candy for garnish

Start off with a large pitcher filled with ice and add the white wine and seasonal fruit. Add the peach schnapps, Triple Sec, apricot brandy, orange juice, and Blue Curacao. Use colorful jelly candy to garnish.

 

 

The Classic

Red Sangria: Bridge View Tavern (226 Beekman Ave, Sleepy Hollow 914-332-0078. Sangria sold by the glass only; $6 during happy hour, Monday-Friday 4-7 pm; $7 all other times; a white sangria as well as a sangria margarita are also available)
The eight-month-old Bridge View Tavern has an incredible selection of 18 craft beers on tap, so it’s a bit ironic that Lady Sangria is garnishing the rave reviews. But rave they are, mostly because this homemade punch is made with some serious love and attention. “Our inspiration for everything we do is to bring the food and drinks we are passionate about to our guests,” says Tara Maceyak, whose father, Stephen, and brother, Chris, run the Tavern (she’s chief sangria maker). “This sangria has always been a staple at all family parties and holidays, and we knew when we opened we would want to share it with our guests.” It helps, too, that huge pitchers sit on the bar so, when you walk in, you can’t help but be intrigued by the rich purplish hue and juicy bits of pears, apples, and oranges. And yes, samples are encouraged.

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(Serves 8 to 10)
1 pear and 1 apple
¼ cup simple syrup (a mix of equal parts sugar and water)
½ cup Triple Sec
½ cup peach schnapps
½ cup white rum
½ cup brandy
2 bottles of a full bodied red wine
½ cup pineapple juice
1 bottle of seltzer
orange, lemon, and lime, sliced, for garnish

Cut the fruit into bite-size pieces and, in a large pitcher, cover it with simple syrup, Triple Sec, peach schnapps, rum, and brandy. Let sit for up to three hours. Add the red wine and pineapple juice. Put the pitcher on ice.

To serve, fill a large wine glass with ice and pour the glass 3/4 full with sangria. Finish with a splash of seltzer and garnish with lemon, lime, and orange slices. For white sangria, the Maceyaks use guava juice instead of pineapple, and Chardonnay.

Strawberry Kisses

White Strawberry Sangria: Elia Taverna (502 New Rochelle Rd, Bronxville 914-663-4976, also serves a traditional red and white) We know what you’re thinking: Sangria in a Greek restaurant? But yes! This recipe, carried over from the owner’s Oporto (Portuguese) Restaurant in Hartsdale, remains one of its most requested. That’s because co-owner Rui Cunha takes his sangria seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he is in the midst of bottling his own variation under the name “Beso” (which means “kiss” in Spanish).

The secret to his sangria is allowing it to marinate for days. Though he does a conventional red and white, it’s the white strawberry that maximizes the fruit content and adds a twist to the traditional, creating an intense marriage of crisp, herbal, and juicy. Served in flip-top bottles with masses of fresh strawberries, limes, and oranges atop a mound of ice, this sangria is so appealing, you’ll soon find yourself among the regulars asking for it not only in summer but year-round.

(Serves 8 to 10)
1 bottle of light white wine (e.g., Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
½ cup peach schnapps
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup fresh orange juice
12 oz brandy or similar cordial (optional)
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
ice cubes
10 whole strawberries
1 lime, sliced into rings for garnish
1 orange, sliced into rings for garnish

In a two-quart pitcher, stir together wine, peach schnapps, brandy (optional), and juices. Purée fresh sliced strawberries in a blender and add to the mix. Cover and chill for one to four hours.

Serve in glasses over ice and garnish with whole strawberries and sliced rings of orange and limes.

“Sangria is as individual as the person is who is drinking it,” says Cunha. “Always feel free to experiment with different juices and liquors to give it your own personal signature.”

Fizzy Lift

 

Champagne Sangria: España Wine & Tapas Bar (147 Larchmont Ave, Larchmont 914-833-1331. $7 glass; $28 pitcher; also does red and white) Drinking this fizzy sangria is a bit like being at the table with Goldilocks. It starts off sweet, but with the sparkling wine, it has a dry, refreshing finish. Adding to the faultless thirst-quencher: the fact that it’s served in an authentic Spanish pitcher that looks like it’s had years of sangria-stirring history. Order some tapas—the gambas al ajillo (sautéed shrimp in garlic, parsley, and sherry) or the empanada of the day—and you can almost hear the sounds of Madrid bustling outside.

 

 

(Serves 8 to 10)
3 oz peach vodka
1.5 oz Triple Sec
5 oz pineapple juice
5 oz orange juice
1 bottle (25 oz) of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine)
green apples and oranges, diced, for garnish

Mix ingredients in a pitcher. To serve, pour over ice in a wine glass.

Jeanne Muchnick, author of Dinner for Busy Moms admits she’s a sangria girl who first sipped the fruity concoction as an exchange student in Salamanca, Spain. Come summer, she’s frequently inviting herself to her neighbor Janet’s house, where homemade white sangria is a popular magnet for neighborhood get-togethers.

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