My favorite thing about sangria, the Spanish punch, isn't actually the wine or spirits; it's the luscious assortment of fruit that gets ladled into each glass. I love how refreshing it is to sip, and munch, on a warm day, and I've often felt bad that my teetotaling partner hasn't been able to enjoy it. I developed this non-alcoholic version with him in mind, and discovered that I like it just as much as the real thing.
There are thousands of recipes for sangria, each using a different combination of wine and fruit, so I don't worry too much about whether this one is "authentic." For the fruit, I like to use the ample supply of citrus in my local markets and gardens – thin slices of oranges, lemons, limes – plus an apple for crunch. You could also try fresh fruits like strawberries, pineapple or grapes. When steeped for several hours, the fruits both flavor the drink and soak up the liquid, turning plump and juicy. They not only look pretty in the glass, but are a delight to eat.
The liquid is a combination of black tea and pomegranate juice, which approximate the sweetness, acidity, and tannins of red wine. It's a beautiful substitute both flavor and color-wise, although caffeine does of course have a more stimulating effect than wine. I also include a little fresh orange juice for sweetness and cinnamon sticks for subtle spice. Just before serving, the drink is lightly carbonated, and the result is a punch suitable for young and old, drinkers and non-drinkers, mealtimes and parties.
2 cups boiling water
2 black tea bags (or 2 teaspoons loose-leaf tea in an infuser)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 cups carbonated water
Pour boiling water over tea bags and cinnamon sticks and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir in sugar to dissolve.
In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.
Just before serving, stir in carbonated water. Serve in glasses over ice.
(Images: Emily Ho)