Summer is a great time for cold fizzy refreshments. And drinks made with champagne, Prosecco, or sparkling wine always seem the most elegant. Sangria Blanca -- a Spanish sparkling wine drink infused with fruit -- is just this type of libation (I love that word). And, with berries and mint, it's really the perfect tonic for a hot summer day.
Although I adore Sangria Blanca now, it took a while for this love to bloom. For years I resisted sparkling sangrias. When offered one, I turned up my nose, thinking it was a cousin of the lowly wine cooler. This isn't to say I never liked wine coolers. In high school, I drank my fair share (but don’t tell my mom). They were sweeter and more drinkable than the Bud Light and Lucky Lager served at Friday night parties in my small San Diego County town and always seemed to be on hand. My girlfriends and I would down our California Coolers (does anyone else remember those?), feeling quite urbane. Later, when I was a little older and "wiser," I learned to disdain coolers in much the same way a six-year old feels too mature to watch Sesame Street any longer. It was only when I was in my 30s that I returned to sparkling wine concoctions. By this time, I was secure enough to admit I really loved their refreshing and slightly fruity taste and so started experimenting.
Following is the result of one of these experiments: my recipe for Sangria Blanca. I use cava, a Northern Spanish sparkling wine, although any type of bubbly will do. The great thing about this recipe is that you don't need to break the bank. Although a nice champagne wouldn't hurt the outcome, it seems an extravagant addition for a drink that includes fruity soda, thereby drowning out any nuances you would gain. A moderately-priced cava is my bottle of choice, although you could also use sparkling wine or prosecco. Just don't use anything you wouldn't drink plain. Served with some ripe berries, a sprig of mint, and ice, it's the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day in Spain, San Diego, or the Bay Area.
For a discussion on red wine sangria, see Sangria, the Ultimate Summer Refresher.
1 bottle chilled cava or other sparkling wine
1 cup fruity soda, Passion Fruit and Mango Juice Squeeze or Orangina
2 Tbsp brandy
2 Tbsp sugar
½ cup raspberries
½ cup sliced strawberries
1. Clean berries and slice the strawberries. Set aside.
2. In a large punch bowl or pitcher, combine the sugar and brandy until the sugar dissolves.
3. Add the cava, or other sparkling wine, along with the soda.
4. Add the berries and ice.
5. Serve with mint leaves as garnish.