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Recipes: Four ways to make summer sangria, with or without wine

Wine, well-chosen fruit, and modest sweetening are all sangria needs to be great.

From left: White wine sangria; white sangria with honeydew, kiwi, and grapes; and classic red wine sangria.
PHOTO BY ANTHONY TIEULI; FOOD STYLING BY SHEILA JARNES/ENNIS INC.
From left: White wine sangria; white sangria with honeydew, kiwi, and grapes; and classic red wine sangria.

With the parties of college graduation season here and summer coming up soon, it’s high time for a festive, fruity batch of sangria.

For all of sangria’s freewheeling spirit, though, I confess that my approach is pretty conservative. I think it should be fruity, but not a boozy fruit salad. And I’m not one to add lots of extra brandy or rum or tequila. Neither do I go overboard on sweetener or add soda or seltzer to dilute or extend sangria. Wine, a little well-chosen fruit, and modest sweetening are all sangria needs to be great.

Classic Red Wine Sangria

Makes about 1½ quarts

Eons ago I developed the sangria recipe for Cook’s Illustrated.

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I loved it then, and many (many, many) batches down the line, I still love it. Absent a few minor tweaks made over the years, this formula hews close to the original.

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I feel strongly that inexpensive, medium-bodied, relatively dry, quaffable wine — something you might drink at a gallery opening — is just fine. My go-to sangria wine is Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw Merlot, better know as Two-Buck Chuck.

3large oranges, scrubbed
1large lemon, scrubbed
¼cup sugar
¼cup triple sec or other orange liqueur
1750-ml bottle inexpensive, medium-bodied dry red wine, chilled
2cinnamon sticks
1apple, washed well
1cup small ice cubes

Squeeze one orange and set the juice aside (you should have about ½ cup). Halve one orange and the lemon lengthwise, cut the halves crosswise into thin slices, and place them in a sturdy container. Add the sugar and, using a wooden spoon, muddle the mixture until the fruit releases some juice, the skins are bruised, and the sugar dissolves. Add the reserved orange juice, triple sec, wine, and cinnamon sticks, stir, cover the container, and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 24 hours.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the mixture. Remove and reserve the cinnamon sticks and, using a flexible spatula, press the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Pour the liquid into a serving pitcher and add the reserved cinnamon sticks. Quarter the remaining orange lengthwise and thinly slice the quarters crosswise. Quarter and core the apple, and thinly slice the quarters crosswise. Add the fruit and ice cubes to the pitcher and stir to blend. Serve at once.

Variations

White Wine Sangria

Makes about 1½ quarts

Oaky wines aren’t great for sangria, and that’s why I avoid chardonnay, which may or may not be oaked. There are plenty of good wine choices, among them pinot grigio (or gris), sauvignon blanc, gruner veltliner, or a dry riesling or gewurztraminer. Again, something along the lines of Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck should suffice.

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Follow the recipe for Classic Red Wine Sangria, substituting dry white wine for the red wine and omitting the cinnamon sticks.

Tip: Large-batch muddling

Anthony Tieuli
Anthony Tieuli
If you’re muddling fruit and sugar for multiple batches of sangria, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment can save you a workout. Low or medium-low speed should do the trick — any faster and your fruit might fly out of the mixer bowl.

White Sangria With Honeydew, Kiwi, and Grapes

Makes about 1½ quarts

This recipe is adapted from floatingkitchen.net.

½large lemon, thinly sliced
2tablespoons sugar
2cups ripe honeydew melon in 1-inch chunks
cups halved green seedless grapes
1750-ml bottle inexpensive, medium-bodied dry white wine, chilled
¼cup Midori or other melon liqueur
2medium kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
1cup ice cubes

Place the lemon slices and sugar in a sturdy container and, using a wooden spoon, muddle the mixture until the fruit releases some juice, the skins are bruised, and the sugar begins to dissolve. Add 1 cup of the honeydew chunks and ½ cup of the grapes, stir, and set aside until the melon starts to release some juice, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the wine, stir, cover the container, and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 24 hours.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the mixture; remove the lemon slices. Transfer the macerated melon and grapes to a blender, add about ¾ cup of the wine, and puree. Pour the puree into the strainer and, using a flexible spatula, stir and work it through the strainer until only a tiny bit of pulp remains; discard the solids. Set the strainer aside and stir to mix the liquid and strained puree in the bowl.

Pour the mixture into a serving pitcher. Add the Midori, remaining melon and grapes, kiwi, and ice cubes to the pitcher and stir to blend. Serve at once.

Nonalcoholic Sangria

Makes about 2 quarts

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Many nonalcoholic sangrias amount to little more than combinations of various fruit juices. This version appealed to me because, as the authors at thekitchn.com, from which this is adapted, write, the combination of black tea and pomegranate juice suggests the tannins and acidity of red wine.

Earl Grey and Constant Comment teas are nice here for their orangey aroma and flavor.

3large oranges, scrubbed
tablespoons sugar
3tablespoons honey
cups freshly brewed Earl Grey, Constant Comment, or black tea, cooled to room temperature
3cups pure pomegranate juice
2cinnamon sticks
1apple, washed well
1cup small ice cubes

Squeeze one orange and set the juice aside (you should have about ½ cup). Halve one orange lengthwise, cut the halves crosswise into thin slices, and place them in a sturdy container. Add the sugar and, using a wooden spoon, muddle the mixture until the fruit releases some juice, the skins are bruised, and the sugar dissolves. Add the reserved orange juice and the honey and stir to dissolve and incorporate the honey. Add the tea, pomegranate juice, and cinnamon sticks, stir, cover the container, and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 24 hours.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the mixture. Remove and reserve the cinnamon sticks and, using a flexible spatula, press the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Pour the liquid into a serving pitcher and add the reserved cinnamon sticks. Quarter the remaining orange lengthwise and thinly slice the quarters crosswise. Quarter and core the apple, and thinly slice the quarters crosswise. Add the fruit and ice cubes to the pitcher and stir to blend. Serve at once.

Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to cooking@globe.com. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.