GC Market Day: Sangria with Purpose
GC Market Day is a Garden Collage feature where we spotlight new, intriguing recipes using ingredients sourced almost exclusively from the Farmers Market– right down to the butter and honey. This week, we highlight some delicious Sangria recipes using fresh summer fruit and quality red wine, white wine, and rosé. We haven’t said goodbye to summer just yet!
I’ve been drinking a lot of chilled red wine this summer. If you’re making a face right now, read this ode to the practice and be enlightened: drinking red wine chilled is a new trend. And even though it is now September, I have no intention of stopping until this heat breaks. Enter Sangria.
Sangria used to be a way to mask cheap red wine in my house or (let’s face it) my dorm. But we can do better than apples, grapes, and lemon-lime soda. At this time of year, I always find myself overbuying berries and stone fruits (they are just too beautiful!), and with the right spirits the flavors of the season can offer manifold culinary rewards. If you plan it with purpose, market-fresh fruits and herbs can elevate sangria to a level of complexity typically reserved for a Brooklyn speakeasy cocktail.
In each of these recipes there are a few elements that come down to taste as cocktails– and recipes for that matter– always should.
First is the wine. Below are my recommendations, but they are not hard and fast requirements, so stick within the same taste family and you’ll be set. A great app for finding wines you’ll like based on ones you already love is Taste Wine Co— thank me for this recommendation later.
Second comes the booze. I encourage you to not go too heavy or too light on the booze during your first round of mixing, but it’s totally in the eye of the beholder. The quantities below are pretty much the median, so adjust based on the crowd, the weather, the food, and the time of day.
Third is the fruit preparation. Some love a good puree to give the Sangria a more syrupy quality, but I can’t bare to sacrifice the beautiful appearance of fresh fruit in the glass. Puree some or all of what you pick up at the market or grow in the yard. It’s up to you to see who wins: texture or aesthetics. Also please remember that pureed berries need to be put through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds if they are going in a punch or cocktail. No one likes seeds in their teeth, even at home on a weeknight once the kids have gone to bed.
For this recipe I like to incorporate a vinho verde– especially one with a little sparkle, but anything fruity and not oaky will work.
- 1- 750ml bottle Vino Verde
- 1 cup St. Germain
- ½ pint of strawberries roughly chopped (no stems)
- 4 ripe apricots, pitted and roughly-chopped
- a squeeze of lemon to taste
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher with about 1 cup of ice (too much will water it down). I like to let the fizz of the wine do the sparkling here, but topping the pitcher with club soda or some lemon-flavored Pellegrino is also an option. Keep a wooden spoon on hand to mix the Sangria periodically.
Possibly the most common form a Sangria can take is that which is made using red wine, so cater it to your taste.
- 1-750 ml bottle
- 3/4 cup Disaronno
- ½ pint of cherries, pitted and halved
- lemon juice to taste
Ideally this recipe would be made with sour cherries, but I’ve missed the season by about a month. Disaronno is a powerful force and plenty sweet, and the two pair really nicely. But all is not lost: use sweet cherries instead if you like a more desert-oriented sangria, or try adding a squeeze of lemon or grapefruit and maybe ½ cup of tart cherry juice from a bottle (gasp! I know, I know…).
I also like to break out this cocktail-mixologist secret weapon of mine– an Acid of Milk called Lactart. Just a few drops adds tartness while carrying no other discernible flavor (go slowly with this one!). It’s also the secret ingredient in my martinis. Mix all ingredients in a pitcher with about 1-cup of ice or simply chill with no ice if you have time. I would definitely recommend some club soda in this one. Keep a wooden spoon on hand to mix the sangria periodically.
I tend to go by color when choosing rosés– going for the paler, peachier varieties as a rule– but with the flavors that will be layered here, any rosé that’s not sickeningly-sweet should do.
- 1 pint blackberries
- 1 cup pear brandy or other pear liqueur (find some suggestions here, and keep the color in mind). Pear brandy is usually clear, but don’t sub regular brandy since the color gets unattractive quickly…)
- 1 square inch of fresh, peeled ginger (make sure this doesn’t end up in someone’s glass)
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher. This one must sit in the fridge for at least an hour to let the ginger infuse. Carry to your favorite picnic spot or simply take a glass out into the garden and enjoy!