This refreshing and delicious melon sangria recipe is made with moscato wine, a variety of melons – including watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melons – honey, lime, grappa, sparkling water, and mint. The smell of ripe melons reminds me of warm summer days. And warm summer days are perfect for sipping moscato wine or moscato cocktails. Moscato wine is an Italian sweet wine made from muscat grapes – yes, those delicious grapes that are very seasonal and are so sweet and fragrant. Well, moscato wine tastes like the grapes, so if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it. I also really like to use moscato wine as a base for white sangrias – it works so well and is already sweet that you really don’t need to add a lot of extra sweetener. I like to use honey with moscato sangrias, since the moscato already has a natural honey taste it’s a great match.
Refreshing and delicious melon sangria recipe made with a mix of melons, including watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melons, moscato wine, honey, lime, grappa (an Italian grape brandy), sparkling water, and mint.
- ~3 cups of mixed melon balls (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew)
- 2-4 tablespoons of honey, adjust to taste
- 1 lime, juiced
- ¼ cup to ½ cup of grappa, adjust to taste – can also use pisco or a clear grape brandy
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of moscato wine, chilled
- ~ 1 ½ cups of sparkling water, chilled
- Mint leaves
- Lime slices
- Ice cubes or frozen melon ball ice cubes
- Place the melon balls in a large pitcher, add the honey (2 tablespoons to start), lime juice, and ¼ cup of grappa. Mix gently and let rest in fridge for 1-2 hours or until 1 hour before serving.
- Add the moscato wine, mix gently, taste and add more honey or grappa if desired. Keep in mind that you will top it off with sparkling water right before serving, so it’s okay if it’s on the sweeter/stronger side. Refrigerate for another hour.
- Right before serving, add ice (or frozen melon balls as ice cubes), lime slices and mint leaves to garnish, and top off with sparkling water. You can prepare the final mix in the pitcher or serve it directly into glasses with melon ice cubes and top off each glass with the sparkling water.
For a mocktail sangria variation, omit the moscato wine and the grappa, and replace with a sparkling white grape juice and sparkling lemonade.
I used melon balls for this white sangria recipe. It does take a decent amount of time to scoop out the melon balls, but I love how pretty it makes the drink look. I also froze the additional melon balls to use later as ice cubes. And to not waste any of the leftover melons – what was left after scooping the melon balls, you can use it to make smoothies, cocktails ( a couple of ideas include this watermelon mimosa or this honeydew melon bellini), and even to make a cold melon gazpacho soup. I used a mix of watermelon, cantaloupe, regular green honeydew melon and a white honeydew melon (the skin is yellow) – feel free to use the melon combination that you prefer or that you have available. Also, if you’re short on time or don’t have a melon baller, you use melon slices or diced melon for this recipe.
My ideal sangria combination includes: wine, fruit, a bit of honey/sugar, some citrus juice, sparkling water, and a small amount of hard liquor. In this case, I used grappa to match the Italian theme with the moscato. Grappa is an Italian grape brandy and is quite strong. Italians drink it as an after dinner digestive or with their after dinner espresso. You can find it most liquor stores, in case you can’t find it you can also use pisco – a Peruvian/Chilean grape brandy that has a very similar taste to grappa.
To prepare this melon ball sangria, I mixed the melon balls with some of the honey, lime juice and a bit of grappa and let it rest for an hour or two. Then I add the moscato wine, make adjustments to the honey/grappa and let it rest for another hour. Right before serving I add ice, garnishes and sparkling water. Of course, if you are in a rush you can mix it all together and serve immediately or let it rest for just 30 minutes. The sangria police might claim that it has to rest for several hours, but it will still taste great, and I won’t judge. Cheers!
Step by step preparation photos for melon ball sangria: