I’m always aching for an excuse to make a sangria. Just saying, “Sangria” conjures up all kinds of classy outings – usually of a girly nature – in my minds eye. Bridal shower? Baby shower? Bachelorette party? Sangria!! It is just so visually alluring and appeals to my exhibitionist hostess side. So of course, when I found myself planning a last minute Girls Night to take my maternity photos and other pictures with the girls, I was chanting “Sangria and finger foods!!” till I’m sure my friends wanted to hurl fresh fruit at my head to shut me up.
Now, sangria is a concoction that originally hails from Spain and traditionally includes a dark wine chock full of chopped fruit. But when I make a sangria, I usually indulge in the American bastardizations of the recipe and use champagne. But being knocked up, loosely imbibing wine all night wasn’t an option for this outing. And substituting sparkling apple cider for champagne seemed to be just a cruel mockery of my usual. So after trolling the interwebs for some inspiration, I finally decided to just wing it and make up my own sangria concoction using a light fruit juice. Since I knew a lot of the girls would be interested in spiking my virgin sangria creation, I decided to opt for a nice light mixture that would serve as a fruity base for any wine additions.
I decided a citrus medley was a must, not just for the colorful presentation, but for it’s flavor. And with the Central Valley still in strawberry season full swing I decided: Fresh Citrus and Strawberry Sangria! I used white grape juice as my base and ginger ale as my fizz factor, and brought along a merlot juice box as the alcohol add on for the gals wanting something stronger.
So! My on-the-fly Girls Night Fresh Citrus and Strawberry Sangria recipe breaks down like so:
1 carton of strawberries
1 jug of white grape juice
2 liters of ginger ale
Pour the above mixtue into a half glass of merlot wine for a spiked drink
The key to the sangria – and any sangria for that matter – is to thinly slice your fruits and citrus, and allow it to sit for at LEAST two hour, chilled, to allow the liquid to fully leech the flavor. Then scoop some of the fruity yum yums into your glass for a decadent drink! Easy peasy and it looks fantastic and festive!
This virgin sangria mixture paired well with a heavy merlot, but it would be equally tasty in a lighter wine – like a white zinfandel. The key is to mix and match, experiment and find a concoction to suit your tastes! Enjoy!