Bartender’s Best: White Sangria, Dark & Stormy And Moscow Mule

By Charlie Wohlrab

A pitcher of cool, refreshing sangria makes any summer party a little more special. And as summer progresses, you may be called upon to quench the thirst of multiple guests at one time.  For outdoor barbecues, picnics, and summer suppers on the porch, might I suggest a white sangria?  This light, refreshing drink does well outdoors in the afternoon and also complements many grilled menu options. So raise a glass to this summertime staple.

Charlie Wohlrab is a mixologist whose motto, “Drinking. . .more than a hobby” has been topmost in his mind since he first started tending bar while getting his Pharmacy degree. Now retired, when he’s not restoring his older home in New Jersey, he’s made it his goal to elevate the experience of having a daily cocktail from something mundane to something more exciting. He is now Harrisburg Magazine’s official bartender in residence.

My recipes are like my opinions,” says Wohlrab. “They continue to be refined as I try new products and work with old standbys.” Currently working on a book about cocktails, Wolhrab welcomes comments from his readers. He can be contacted at


White Sangria

• 1.5 liters inexpensive Chablis
• 6 ounces Liebfraumilch (an inexpensive German sweet wine)
• 4 ounces Triple Sec
• 4 slices lemon
• 4 slices lime

Add the ingredients in a large pitcher. I prefer a ceramic one. You can find many unique pitchers at thrift stores, yard sales or maybe even in your basement. The kitschier the better. If you can’t find a ceramic pitcher, a large glass pitcher will do. Make sure the pitcher has no cracks or chips. I’m partial to a ceramic pitcher because I’ve found that it keeps the mixture cold, but a glass pitcher with the lime and lemon slices does looks nice when placed on a table. In a pinch, I have even made the sangria in a large carafe.

With regards to the lemon and lime slices, scrub the fruits really well as you are putting them in the wine, rind and all. Also, slice them as thinly as possible (1/8 inch or less). This will allow the fruit to float. Don’t use the ends of the fruit; you want to use the fleshy part. I like to make the sangria the night before and store it covered in the refrigerator. This gives the ingredients a chance to mix and mingle, and it is one less thing to do on the day of the event.

Although sangria is light and refreshing, it is not a fruit punch. It is wine, so enjoy it as such. And if you really want to score extra points, leave the pitcher for your host/hostess as I regularly do.


Dark and Stormy

• 1½  to 2 ounces
Gosling Black Seal Rum
Ginger Beer
Lime Wedge

Whenever a summer storm approaches during cocktail  hour it is “Dark and Stormy time” at my house. While I use the traditional recipe, I make the cocktail  in my Moscow Mule mugs even though, according to Gosling, the use of the “Mule Mug” obscures the derivation of the name of this drink. Nevertheless, the mugs are in the freezer anyway, and again, I don’t like to have something used in only one cocktail.

Fill the mug with crushed ice or small cubes, squeeze the lime wedge over the ice, add the rum and top with the Ginger Beer.

A word about Ginger Beer—this is a spicy non-alcoholic beverage with a wide spectrum of spiciness by brand.  So you may want to try different brands, (if you can find them) to find the one or more you prefer.  With regards to the mugs, you can find these on-line for less than $10. Store the mugs in the freezer and you are good to go.  If you have the mugs and Ginger Beer you can also make a “Moscow Mule.”


Moscow Mule

• 1½ ounce Vodka
Ginger Beer
Lime Wedge
Sprig of Fresh Mint

Fill the mug with ice, squeeze the lime over the ice, add the vodka, and top with the Ginger Beer.  Add the sprig of mint, and enjoy.  You can use an inexpensive vodka because the Ginger Beer has such a dominant taste that the expensive vodka would probably be wasted.  If you substitute Tequila for the Vodka, it’s a Mexican Mule.