Mango Monday: Isla Sangria

You may or may not notice that it is actually Wednesday.

You may or may not pretend that it is Monday. (There's a good reason why I delayed Mango Monday this week, I promise.)

Time-traveling aside, today's recipe is perfect for any Summer afternoon. The combination of chilled wine, fresh fruit, and citrus is a classic one...I'm talking about sangria.

"Isla" is Tagalog (Filipino) for "island", and Isla Sangria is made with sweet mangoes and calamansi, two staples in a Filipino kitchen. This version offers a refreshing and tropical take on the beloved beverage. There's nothing like relaxing with a glass of wine, so find yourself a sunny spot to lounge in!

To start, peel and slice the mango.

Then, remove the nectarine's pit and slice it up as well. The nectarine highlights the flavor of the mango, but it also accents the white wine beautifully.

The last of the "floating fruit" is the calamansi.  

This is the reason why Mango Monday is two days late. I had asked my brother-in-law if he could pick some of these little citrus fruits from his parents' tree, and he wasn't able to bring them over until today. The Filipino store by my house and the local Asian farmers market didn't have any, and I really didn't want to resort to using frozen juice concentrate. So, I waited. (And good things come to those who wait!)

Slice about a dozen calamansi in half, then squeeze a few more to get 1/4 cup of fresh juice.

Finally, add all of the chopped fruit into a pitcher.

Now, the wine! The beauty of sangria is being able to take a bottle of wine (or 2 or 3), turn it right over, and let the booze flow. (Who doesn't appreciate a cocktail recipe that includes the step "let the booze flow"?) Typical choices for a white sangria often include sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio, but I love a sangria that uses a nice sweet wine...And, no, not moscato!...I went down the route of riesling! Chateau Ste Michelle describes its "Harvest Select" sweet riesling as:
"...a rich, sweeter style with juicy 'dribble down your chin' flavors of peach and apricot...a luscious mouthfeel."
 (Seriously. It's written right on the bottle, along with a convenient Dry-Sweet scale.)

Sweet riesling was a perfect fit for Isla Sangria. As an ideal "easy drinking" wine, it's crisp, smooth, and refreshing. The peach notes pair well with the mango, making a nectar-like concoction balanced by hints of tart calamansi.

Lastly, add the freshly squeezed calamansi juice and mango juice. (These little cans are so convenient for cocktail-making!) No need for any simple syrup or extra sugar!

Chill the sangria overnight to let all of the flavors really blend together. One of the reasons why this is such a popular party drink is that it's easy to make ahead of time and get out of the way. Full pitchers or jugs can sit in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance. (Party planners, rejoice!)

Whether you're soaking up some sun by the pool or at the beach, add a little more fun to your day with some Isla Sangria! It's great for sipping all day long down by the water! 

You can also make a batch for outdoor dining and backyard BBQ's. Its summery feel pairs well with bright salads and grilled meats, such as Seared Steaks with Ponzu Sauce and Ginger-Passion Chicken. Cheers to sunshine and good wine!

Isla Sangria (serves 4)

Print Recipe
3 cups (1 bottle) White Wine (Recommended: Sweet Riesling)
1 cup Mango Nectar
1/4 cup Calamansi Juice
1 large Mango, peeled & sliced
1 large Nectarine, pitted & sliced
10-12 Calamansi, halved
  1. In a large pitcher, combine the sliced fruit and calamansi. Pour in the bottle of wine, mango juice, and calamansi juice. Stir gently just to combine.
  2. Chill the sangria overnight.
  3. Serve in glasses, and enjoy!