sip a rosé sangria from grapeseed photo by greg rannells

Say 'salud' to sangria

Like a 5-gallon tub of Legos, sangria variations are limited only by your imagination. Essentially a wine punch, traditional sangria contains red wine, sugar and fruit. From there, you can add a splash of the hard stuff – like brandy or rum – and bubbles like club soda. Most any vino is a good choice as long as it’s inexpensive, younger and not overly oaky.

Sangria is so popular at Barcelona Tapas Restaurant that it’s made in 10-gallon batches and put on tap. Chunks of fresh apples and oranges finish the glass or pitcher.

For Italian flair,Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas bartender Charles Meyer uses a mix of Burgundy and Chianti wines. After apples, oranges and spices soak 24 hours, the infused wine is strained and bottled. Meyer gives it an effervescent hit of lemon-lime soda and a scoop of fresh fruit before serving.

“There are no rules,” said Copper Pig bartender Todd Brutcher. “Just use what you like. Use an inexpensive wine because you’re manipulating the flavors anyway.”

He would know; Brutcher has been getting creative with sangria for six years, starting at Onesto Pizza & Trattoria. Brutcher said his white sangrias are more popular than his reds at Copper Pig, and on any given weekend can contain anything from Sungold tomatoes, pineapples and basil to cherries and peppercorns.

“Cooking fruit down will give sangria more flavor,” he said, but fruits with high water content like watermelon and cucumber are exceptions. Brutcher also steers clear of bananas, which take on an unappealing consistency and “do not translate well.”

Sangria is a great way to make the most of seasonal ingredients. Modesto takes advantage of strawberry season, adding them to sparkling brut cava, brandy, vodka and triple sec. Grapeseed also stays summery and local with Double Star Farms strawberries macerated in sugar then soaked in a mix of apple brandy, botanical Pinckney Bend gin and rosé.

Whether you go for traditional red sangria or a creative white concoction, raise your glass to the no-rules wine punch we can’t stop sipping. Order a pitcher for the table when you’re out or embrace summer flavors at home with Grapeseed’s rosé sangria recipe.

Rosé Sangria
Courtesy of Grapeseed’s Sierra Scott
6 servings

1½ cups halved strawberries
¼ cup sugar
1 bottle syrah, grenache or cinsault rosé
¼ cup apple brandy
¼ cup Pinckney Bend gin
Club soda
Sliced strawberries and apples for garnish

• In a large bowl, macerate the strawberries by stirring together with sugar. Let stand at room temperature at least 45 minutes.
• In a large pitcher, combine the rosé, apple brandy and gin. Add the macerated strawberries and refrigerate 2 to 3 days.
• To serve, fill a Collins glass with ice, pour the sangria, top with club soda and garnish with fresh sliced strawberries.

Barcelona Tapas Restaurant 34 N. Central Ave., Clayton, 314.863.9909

Copper Pig 4611 Macklind Ave., St. Louis, 314.499.1166 

Grapeseed 5400 Nottingham Ave., St. Louis, 314.925.8525

Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas 5046 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.771.4900 

Modesto Tapas Bar and Restaurant 5257 Shaw Ave., St. Louis, 314.772.8272