Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Let it Flow

Summer is the perfect time for many things; Vacations, swimming, picnics, and the like. To me though, summer represents an opportunity to take advantage of some of the freshest produce you can get your hands on. Sometimes this is a necessity to escape the heat, while others it's the perfect excuse to heat up your gatherings.

Case in point: Sangria, one of my favorite adult beverages. Why? Well, because with many of my other favorites, it's easy to make ahead, looks amazing, and is always a huge hit with friends. When you pair all of this with some incredibly fresh fruit, you've got the makings of quite the crowd-pleasing cocktail. Be it a Traditional sangria or something more inventive (Read: try making a spiced sangria with sliced pears, etc) people never seem to lose the intrigue that comes along with such a beautiful drink.

Now as you may already know, Sangria is a Spanish word meaning bleeding. This is because traditionally, sangria is made with red wine and citrus fruits. Nowadays though, it has come to mean any wine based drink that is infused by soaking pieces of fruit in it. I always encourage breaking with tradition and so, you can see that the end result is not deep red, but rather a nice pale yellow. In this version, I've used a decent but not overly complex white wine. Try to pick something that lends itself nicely to the flavors of the fruit you're using. White wine is almost synonymous with summertime because of it's clean, crisp flavors and often the fact that it's served chilled. It's for this reason that it was the obvious choice for my end of summer soirĂ©e.

Even moreso here than with my other recipes, sangria can be tweaked to meet the specific needs of your party. Therefore, I'm generalizing on some of the specific portions in the recipe.

Summer Sangria:

1.5L of Semi-dry White Wine.
2c Sliced fruit (Take free license here, but I used: White Grapes, Nectarines, Strawberries, and Mango)
3T Fresh Lemon Juice
3T Triple Sec
1/3c St. Germain (if unavailable, use 1/4c more Triple Sec)
1/4c sugar (optional)

Preparation couldn't be simpler. In a large airtight container, mix the wine, sugar, triple sec, st. germain and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved. Add the fruit and seal the container. Allow to sit in the fridge overnight, at least 3 hours to allow all the flavors to infuse.

When it's time to serve, use your favorite punch bowl or pitcher, and just watch how fast it disappears.

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