Smoky Summer Sangria Camping Recipe
It’s one of camping’s unwritten rules: Perfect summer days should finish with perfect summer drinks. It's hard to top chef Sarah Glover's smoky camp sangria—a refreshing (and wonderfully surprising) choice for memorable post-adventure festivities.
So stoke the flames, uncork the red wine, and settle into fireside chatter. This easy-to-make camp drink recipe packs summer's essence into every sip.
A (Smoky) Twist on a Classic
Nothing says summer quite like smoky flavor, and Sarah’s no stranger to recipes that take shape around a bonfire. Originally from Tasmania, fire has been a signature element of Sarah’s cooking since her early days as a pro chef.
“I’m always lighting fires and cooking on them," Sarah says. "So I wanted to incorporate that into my drinks, too. I just thought, ‘How can I utilize the fruit that we have with us? What can we do with bruised fruit, or fruit that we just have an abundance of?’”
Sangria—the classic Spanish punch that typically combines wine with fruit, sugar, and sometimes liquor—was the perfect answer.
Sangria usually has citrus fruits and red wine, but using white wine, rosé, and other fruits are common as well. Sarah’s camping cocktail recipe opts for red wine but adds delicious complexity through fire-smoked fruit.
"The festivities of summer inspired the recipe, and I just love red wine and citrus fruit," Sarah says. "The freshness of the fruit paired with the smokiness adds a layer that you wouldn’t expect."
Creativity in the Camp Kitchen
Sarah sees her cooking as an inherently creative act. She often builds recipes on the fly, using ingredients in her camp pantry as well as any edible plants nearby. According to Sarah, cooking and cocktail-creating can be all about experimenting and having fun with flavors.
Her camp sangria recipe evolved from a curiosity about new flavor possibilities. “I just wanted to try smoking some fruit and seeing what would happen,” Sarah says.
Sangria’s versatility means there’s plenty of room for creative variation in her recipe. Use whatever fruits you have on hand, play with different combinations, and adjust sweeteners as you see fit.
To smoke the fruit, you’ll want to let your campfire burn down to a medium heat. A fire burning for an hour or so will yield hot coals excellent for cooking. Place a grill grate about a foot from the coals, and let the heat and smoke do the rest!
Savor Summer Flavor
Your surroundings add flavor to whatever you’re mixing up, Sarah says. So don’t underestimate that scenic camp spot, or the afterglow of a day well spent with friends and family.
“Hopefully you’ll enjoy this recipe after going for a surf, or having some kind of other adventure,” Sarah says.
Long summer days mean there’s plenty of time for both activity and hanging out around the fire back at camp. And while you’ve got the fire going, Sarah says you might as well cook some other things up, too. “Hopefully you’re grilling up some meat while the fruit smokes!”
(For a real treat, grill up Sarah’s mouthwatering glazed steak skewers. With a delectable jam made from prickly pear fruits, they’re the perfect camp sangria accompaniment.)
Of course, you could just pour a glass of wine and leave it at that. But Sarah says there's something special about putting some thought into an evening drink. Sangria is worth the wait. As the fruit reaches smoky perfection, there's nothing left to do but trade stories and laughs with whoever's around your campfire.
Smoky Sangria Recipe
- 2 blood oranges
- 2 apples
- 2 pears
- 2 oranges, peeled and pith removed, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 1⁄3 cup rum
- 1 bottle dry red wine, such as Beaujolais or a Spanish red
- Extra fruit and edible flowers, to garnish
- Light your fire and let it burn down for about 1 hour or until you obtain a medium heat. Place a grill grate about 12 in (30 cm) above the coals.
- Place the blood oranges, apples and pears on the grill grate and smoke, turning occasionally, for about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Chop the apples and pears into cubes.
- Place the chopped orange, apple, pear and raw sugar in a large bowl. Muddle for a few minutes using the handle of a wooden spoon. Add the rum and muddle again.
- Then squeeze in the juice from the two blood oranges that you smoked over the fire. Muddle again.
- Add the wine and stir well, adjusting the acidity to your taste.
- Pour the sangria into a jug filled with ice, garnish with fruit and edible flowers, and enjoy.
Love Sarah’s camp sangria? Find more camping recipes in Sarah’s cookbooks, including her latest, Open Skies Cookbook: A Wild American Road Trip.