Traditionally I have spent the Fourth of July at a friend's house by the beach down in Southern California, eating and drinking the traditional foods of summer and falling asleep to Air Force One or Independence Day after watching the fifteen or so firework shows we can see from his house on the bluff. The whole day is full of potluck dishes crowding the counter-tops, and as the day wears on, the number of beer cans and wine bottles becomes overwhelming; aluminum and glass containers teeter on every conceivable ledge, and a mountain of empties in the recycling seems to have taken Mount Everest's size as a personal challenge.
The amount of beer and wine bottles we go through over the course of the day was getting out of hand a couple years back, and one of the guests showed up with several more bottles of a Chardonnay that (without naming names...) could be purchased for two dollars at a local grocery store. We just didn't have room for them, and even if we had, there were several other wines a bit higher on our "To Drink Today" list. But that was no reason for the Two-Buck Ch--er...the wine...to sit abandoned.
Rather than drink the inexpensive wine in its original form (thereby leaving less room in our appetites for the other, perhaps higher-quality bottles), I decided it had reached that point in the day; it was time for Sangria!
True Sangria should always be made at least 12 hours before you plan to drink it, allowing the brandy and red wine to meld with the soaked fruit, but a perfectly refreshing White Sangria can be pulled together in a matter of minutes. It helps that July is prime time for delicious produce, since the fruit you get will most likely be juicy, ripe, and at its peak of flavor.
Here's what you do:
Get a punch bowl or drink dispenser and fill it about halfway with ice. This is white sangria, and you want it to be ice-cold! You'll be mixing the ingredients together inside this container, so make sure you can easily stir its contents with a wooden spoon.
Slice up a bunch of fruit--for white sangria you want fruit with a lot of natural acidity, so I use Granny Smith apples, white peaches and plums, strawberries, pears, even green grapes. Put all of this into the bowl and add just a pinch of sugar, stirring to let the fruit macerate a little bit.
Pour two bottles of inexpensive white wine (like $2 chardonnay) into the bowl and then add about half a 750mL bottle of vodka, white or silver rum, or a light brandy.
Give it all a stir and then add the secret ingredient: one can of grapefruit soda. Seriously, don't forget the grapefruit soda--it lightens up the sangria, contributes a slight fizziness, and helps incorporate the flavors of all the fruit and wine together.
Serve this at your Fourth of July party, and not only will you have people complimenting your mixology skills, but you'll have fewer empty bottles covering every surface of the house. Plus, there is no need to break the bank on tons of good wine--the cheaper, the better!
Image courtesy of Eat. Drink. Enjoy. Repeat.