Pitcher Drinks: Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria With Lillet Rosé


Photographs: Elana Lepkowski

When the temperature starts to inch up, there is little chance you'll find me inside, working at my bar mixing drinks one by one. When it gets hotter than an oven, I muster my strength and pull together a pitcher of something that will serve a crowd (or serve me over and over again) without having to get up from in front of the fan. And if I'm hosting a group, I'm looking for something that I can mix together the night before anyone arrives, when it's dark and the kitchen has cooled down a little, and nobody is strict about requiring pants.

The slightly floral, bitter flavor of grapefruit is put to good use in this cocktail, which gets a boost from Lillet Rosé. The fortified French aperitif wine is slightly sweet and tastes strongly of, you guessed it, grapefruit. (There's a little quinine in the mix to balance things out.) If you're really into that refreshing zest that grapefruit provides, this drink has your name all over it. Added bonus: by using Lillet Rosé in the base instead of, say, brandy, you're mixing a lower-alcohol drink that'll you keep refreshed during a heatwave...and not as likely to do something dumb, like fall asleep in the sun.


To add some depth to the base, you'll add in fresh muddled mint, one of grapefruit's best friends. It's handy to mix the base the night before, but if you don't have time, just make sure it rests in the refrigerator at least a few hours, so that the mint and grapefruit oils can permeate the sangria base. Don't let it sit more than two days, though, or the taste will become muted and not all that pleasant to drink.

When you're ready to serve, top off the pitcher with chilled dry Cava to up the refreshment factor. You'll be grateful for your pre-planning: just pour out the pitcher and you and your guests can laze about under the sun. Pants optional.