Sangria is one of my favorite summer drinks. Cold wine + fresh fruit + some effervescence—does it get any more refreshing? And, best of all, sangria sounds fancy (much fancier than "punch"), but it's actually really easy. This summer I've been using a make-ahead method that's perfect for bringing sangria to a beach house... Or to the generous hosts who invited you to their beach house
Sangria always benefits from being made ahead of time because it lets the flavors of the fruit blend with the booze. But, if you're taking it on the road (or are running short on fridge space before hosting an end-of-summer blowout this weekend) it's not always practical to have a big pitcher sitting in the fridge. Instead, make a sangria starter: Slice up some fruit (I use this classic sangria recipe and I can chop up everything but the apples, which have to go in at the last minute to prevent browning), stick it all in a jar, and add the liquor (in this case, 1/4 cup of brandy). Seal it tightly and let it sit in the fridge for a day or two (one day right-side-up and one day upside-down, if you're being fussy).
Bring the sangria starter (also known as "boozy fruit" or "party starter") wherever you're headed, along with a bottle of red wine and some lemon-lime soda and you can throw together a thought-out sangria in a matter of minutes without having to pack a ton of ingredients.