With apologies to the more masculine sensibilities of Wild Chef readers, I propose a toast to one of my new favorite Saturday (or any) evening beverages–the Summer Sangria. I first whipped up a batch of this easy-drinking cooler for a party late last summer, then promptly forgot how good it was once Brown Liquor season started on September 1st. But I recently rediscovered it and have been enjoying a glass or two after I pry myself from the computer each afternoon.

There are about as many variations of sangria as there are mosquitoes on my front porch, but the one constant I think every one should adhere to is the use of red wine–the cheaper the better. You’re going to sweeten it up with sugar and fruit and splash in a little club soda, so no use wasting the good stuff. Save that for when the yuppies or your New York City editor* come to visit. Here’s my take on things.

Summer Sangria


– 1.5 liters cheap red wine (I’ve been using Fish Eye Merlot; $7 on sale)

– Sliced ripe peaches, limes, lemons, oranges and just about any other fruit ¼ cup sugar

– 2 ounces brandy

– 1 liter club soda

– Pack fruit into a large, glass pitcher and cover with sugar and brandy, muddling it a bit to ensure everything is well coated. (It’s best to do this the night before, but really, who plans that far in advance?)

– Add wine.

– Fill a jelly glass, Bell jar, or other reasonably redneck drinking vessel with ice. Fill with sangria, leaving just enough room at the top for a splash of club soda. Stir with your finger and enjoy one last taste of summer.

*Editor’s Note: Actually, I’m a bourbon guy. Preferably Bulleit. Especially Pappy Van Winkle.