White sangria, or sangria blanca, is a delicious and refreshing wine punch. Hailing from Spain, this cooling beverage is a mixture of white or sparkling wine with summer’s ripest fruits. Try making white sangria for a Spanish themed dinner, a garden wedding, or any warm-weather celebration.
Typically, white sangria uses fruits that are characteristic flavors in fruity white wine. Peaches, nectarines, crisp green apples and tropical fruits are all appropriate to steep in white wine. To make a basic white sangria, slice fruit into small pieces, place in a pitcher, and fill with a white wine of your choice, adding sugar or honey if desired. Allow the mixture to chill for several hours or overnight, as the wine absorbs the fruit flavors. When serving, top off with seltzer or sparkling wine for a hint of carbonation.
Though Spanish white wines are traditional for sangria, do not be afraid to experiment with your favorites. A dry pinot gris will pick up citrus flavors well, while a heady viognier or gewürztraminer will soak in the sweetness of ripe peaches, perfuming the drink with floral notes. White zinfandel will give the drink a gloriously pink hue, making each glass look like a sunset of colors. Be wary of heavily oaked wines like many California Chardonnays; while delicious on their own, the woody flavors may overwhelm and clash with the delicate fruit.
One popular newer white sangria combination makes use of that unusual tropical treat, the kiwi. To make a delicious kiwi sangria, combine white wine and a simple sugar syrup with a blend of sliced kiwi, green apples, green grapes, and lemon or lime juice. For a wonderful extra kick, add about 1 cup (8 oz) of orange flavored liqueur, like Cointreau or Triple Sec. After allowing several hours for the flavors to meld, serve in tall glasses over ice, adding a few ounces of seltzer to each glass.
Combining sangria blends with additional flavored liqueurs is a great way to make the drink more complex. Try making a fragrant white sangria with peaches and mangos, enhanced with peach schnapps and a splash of brandy. Or make an early spring, crisp version with apple schnapps, tart green apples, lime slices and the freshest raspberries you can find.
If you wish to make a sparkling white sangria, avoid traditional champagnes from France and try out cava, a dry Spanish sparkler. As carbonation will likely drop during the steeping process, be prepared to add a splash of freshly opened cava or seltzer at the last minute, to boost the bubbles back up. Sparkling sangrias are crisp and refreshing, and a welcome variety for wedding toasts or baby shower beverages.
It is extremely easy to make a non-alcoholic version of white sangria. Use white grape juice from a winery, which is usually better and less diluted than store-bought varieties. Or try out a non-alcoholic wine, like those offered by Ariel vineyards. The key to good sangria isn’t the booze, it’s the delicious combination of fruit and floral flavors, so don’t feel left out of sangria goodness if you are not a drinker.