Sangria 9-2-2015

Labor Day is “so-long-to-summer” portal, although veteran Texans know hot days will not end soon.

Kids, however, are back in school or going off to college and this is the last big outdoor party, pool, lake, tank-top, flip-flop weekend before the harvest festival feasts. In short, sangria sayonara time.

Three recipes. The first, a classic, big-production number. Then, two additional last minute scrambles.

Big production sangria:

• Wine—red or white, doesn’t matter (see tasting notes below).

• 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 red apple. Cut into thin wedges, do not squeeze to juice, do not peel.

• 1 cup orange juice

• ½ cup lemonade

• 2 tbsp sugar

• 2-3 shots triple sec or Grand Marnier

• 20 oz can diced pineapples (include juice)

• 1 cup raspberries or strawberries (fresh, thawed, or frozen, doesn’t matter)

• 4 cups chilled ginger ale

Pour wine in pitcher. Add lemon, orange, lime, apple slices, pineapple, sugar, orange juice, lemonade, triple sec/Grand Marnier. Chill overnight—very important, quality sangria marinates 24 hours.

Add ginger ale and whole berries before serving straight or on ice. Ladle so people can enjoy fruit.

Last minute fruity sangria:

• 1 bottle of rosé

• 1 cup orange juice

• 2 sliced peaches or nectarines (peeled)

• 2 sliced oranges (peeled)

• half cantaloupe, cut into chunks

Combine in pitcher filled with ice. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Last minute bubbly sangria:

• 1 bottle of sparkling wine

• 2 sliced peaches or nectarines (peeled)

• half cantaloupe, cut into chunks

• half-cup of honey

Combine in pitcher, stir to dissolve honey. Add ice. Let ingredients sit for 15 minutes.

Tasting notes:

• You do not need quality wine to make sangria because the fruit covers up so much; boxed wine works, or your go-to $8-12 pizza-burger wine. Red or white. Never get wine labeled “sangria”—it is low-end, artificial plonk.

• Barefoot Bubbly—a host of low-dollar wines under this label, Extra Dry & Brut Cuvée will work for last-minute bubbly sangria, but almost any Barefoot bottle will do and cost you less than a Hamilton.

Last round: Wine is not the answer, but it does help you ignore the question.

Email Gus at Follow tasting notes on Twitter @gusclemens. Website: Facebook: Gus Clemens on Wine.