8/31/2023 | By JeanMarie Brownson

Labor Day weekend is the perfect excuse to squeeze in as many summer drinks and sangrias as we can before the weather turns cool and thoughts turn to hot tea. We’re keeping the party simple with pitchers of cocktails – Red Berry and Cherry Sangria with Ruby Port and White Wine Sangria with Peaches and Orange Liqueur – paired with and Sweet and Salty Turmeric Snack Mix.

We happily sipped our way through Portugal and Spain in early spring and carried on the vibe throughout the summer. Tinto de verano, a combination of equal parts red wine and lemon-lime soda, makes for easy, lower alcohol sipping. Similarly, in Portugal red or white port wines mingle in a glass over ice with a generous pour of tonic water.

At home, we fill our Spanish-made glass pitchers with summer’s best fruits and wine for refreshing sangrias to serve a crowd. Sangria pitchers usually feature a round bottom to show off the fruit and a pinched mouth to make it easy to pour the liquid off the fruit. But any pitcher will suffice.

Think of sangrias as a modern-day punch — they both can be made in advance in large quantities. The longer the fruit marinates in the wine, the richer the flavor. In general, plan on about 3 cups of cut fruit for each bottle of wine. Of course, throughout the party, you can replenish the pitchers with more wine (and liquor) to any fruit remaining in the pitcher.

Sangrias made from red wine may be the most popular style. Here, a dry Spanish rioja or inexpensive California pinot noir or Argentine malbec paired with dark cherries and berries will shine. Rich, ruby port adds sweetness and its own dark fruit notes.

For super refreshing white sangrias, try Portugal’s slightly effervescent vinho verde or northern Spain’s txakoli wines. These dry, lighter style white wines pair well with ripe peach, aromatic cucumber and sweet grapes. A little orange liqueur, such as Cointreau, adds sweetness and flavor.

To reduce the potency of each drink, I serve the sangria over ice and top off guest’s glasses with a generous splash of sparkling water. I also offer sweet and salty nibbles, such as a charcuterie board, crackers and sliced bread.

The sweet and salty snack mix that follows packs just a little punch from turmeric; the caramelized sugar keeps guests coming back for more. Season the melted sugar with bright yellow turmeric or swap in Golden Milk seasoning if you have it. I enjoy this spicy bright yellow blend of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg and roasted coriander from Spicewalla, available at

Red Berry and Cherry Sangria with Ruby Port

Makes 6 servings


  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup each: fresh raspberries, blueberries, halved pitted dark sweet cherries
  • 1/3 cup ruby port
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine, such as rioja, malbec or pinot noir
  • Ice cubes
  • Sparkling water


  1. Put strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries into a large pitcher. Stir in port and agave syrup. Let stand 20 minutes or so.
  2. Stir in red wine and chill thoroughly.
  3. Serve in wine glasses over ice with a splash of sparkling water.

White Wine Sangria with Peaches and Orange Liqueur

sangria varieties with salty snacks

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 large ripe peach, halved, pitted, thinly sliced, each slice cut in half
  • 1 ripe golden or green kiwi fruit, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (or a small apple, cored, diced)
  • 1/2 cup halved seedless green grapes
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1/3 cup Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) dry white wine, such as vinho verde, txakoli or pinot grigio
  • Ice cubes
  • Sparkling water


  1. Put peach, kiwi, grapes and cucumber into a large pitcher. Stir in orange liqueur. Let stand 20 minutes or so.
  2. Stir in white wine and chill thoroughly.
  3. Serve in wine glasses over ice with a splash of sparkling water.

Sweet and Salty Turmeric Snack Mix

Makes about 5 cups


  • 2 cups (10 ounces) whole roasted unsalted cashews, almonds or macadamia nuts (or a combination)
  • 2 or 3 cups skinny pretzel sticks
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons safflower, sunflower, grapeseed or expeller-pressed canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric (or Golden Milk seasoning or curry powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  2. Have nuts, pretzels and pumpkin seeds measured out near the cooking surface.
  3. Put sugar, oil and 1/3 cup water into a large deep saucepan. Heat to a boil and stir well to dissolve sugar, about 2 minutes. Cover the pan and simmer, without stirring, for 1 minute. Uncover and stir in turmeric and salt. Add nuts, pretzels and seeds. Stir quickly to coat everything with the sugar syrup; cook, stirring gently 2 or 3 minutes, to glaze everything.
  4. Carefully transfer the contents of the saucepan (everything is very hot) to the prepared baking sheet. Spread mixture out into an even layer. Bake, stirring things around once or twice, until golden, about 20 minutes.
  5. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Mixture will crisp as it cools. Store in a covered tin for up to several days.

JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking, and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel and dining for more than four decades.

©2023 JeanMarie Brownson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Make similar summer recipes on Seniors Guide like this one: Curried Summer Fruit Chicken Salad Recipe

JeanMarie Brownson