Backyards and screened porches are made for summer. They also call for porch drinks—something delicious mixed in quantity in a pitcher—so that everyone can just sit and sip, pour another glass, and keep on chatting.
Watermelon sangria is a superb summer porch drink. According to Food&Wine magazine, sangria, a Spanish wine punch made using wine, fruit, and brandy, was “formally introduced to America” at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. This lighter summer version riffs on that original sangria, ditching the brandy for vodka and making rosy watermelon juice the fruity star.
4-pound piece of whole watermelon (weighed before the rind and seeds are removed)
1 bottle (750 ml) fruity, medium-bodied white wine (preferably a Pinot Grigio or un-oaked Chardonnay), chilled
1 cup vodka (if you’ve got some watermelon-flavored vodka, now’s a great time to use it)
½ cup Triple Sec
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup sugar (or more, to taste)
Large orange and/or lime cut into ¼-inch slices (optional)
Watermelon-juice ice cubes (recommended)* or regular ice cubes
Cut the rind off the watermelon and remove any seeds. Cut the watermelon into cubes, put them in a blender, and blend until liquified.
Over a large bowl, strain the liquified watermelon though a fine-mesh sieve. Add the white wine, vodka, Triple Sec, orange juice, lime juice, and sugar. Stir well, taste, and add more sugar or lime juice if needed. If using the optional orange and lime slices, add them now.
Refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours (preferably for 24 hours) to allow the flavors to blend and mellow. Stir well before serving.
Pour the sangria into a large pitcher. To serve, fill short glasses or wine glasses with watermelon-juice ice cubes or regular ice cubes, then add the sangria.
*To make watermelon-juice ice cubes, use a section of watermelon (you’ll probably have part of a watermelon left over from making the sangria). Cut off the rind and remove any seeds. Cut the watermelon into cubes, put them in a blender, and blend until liquified. Over a medium bowl, strain the liquified melon through a fine-mesh sieve. Pour the strained watermelon liquid into an ice cube tray (or trays) and freeze until solid. An advantage of using watermelon-juice ice cubes in sangria: As the cubes melt, the drink stays cool and takes on additional watermelon flavor.
Recipe tested by Ellen Ficklen; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org