Sangria for Mom’s Day!

With Mother’s Day just around the corner and this (almost) summer weather in full swing for the upcoming weekend, I thought it only appropriate to share a few new libation goodies to use for your Sunday brunch table or your afternoon picnic al fresco.

Let’s talk Sangria! 

But first, here are a couple of thoughts I would offer to make your Mother’s Day more enjoyable:

1.  Don’t forget to buy your Mother’s Day wine before Sunday Remember, Minnesota still clings to an outdated law that prohibits buying wine, beer and spirits at a store on Sundays, even though all of our neighboring states (even Iowa!) gives consumers the convenience and the option to shop on Sundays.  By the way, I’m told that a vote may be coming within days at the Minnesota Legislature to overturn this outdated law – legislators needs to hear from consumers. 

Click here to find out more and send an email to your state legislators.

2.  Here are some great ideas and recipes to really make this Sunday (or any Sunday) very special! 

While the traditional sangria recipe couldn’t be simpler, I thought I’d toss out a few ways to make this tasty Spanish teaser even more irresistible with a few new flavor combinations. 

Traditionally, Sangria is a blend of red wine, fresh seasonal fruit and a splash of brandy.  The basics, yes, are a great place to start yet there are a number of directions you can take this simple recipe to add depth and interest to your backyard punch.  For example, try making your sangria with a lush white wine like Chardonnay, instead of a more traditional ‘red’.  Drop in a few tropical fruits to add dimension to the Chardonnay to expose its round pineapple-y, mango flavors.

Or, use a light and refreshing sparkling wine, like Cava from Spain to create a spa-like concoction and add ingredients like fresh kiwi, lime or basil for lifting its refreshing aromatics.

Better yet, use a dark, brambly red like Zinfandel and add star anise, black peppercorns or IMG_0158cinnamon stick to expose the peppery and more sultry flavors of your base wine.
One last trick…add a creative simple syrup to peak the natural flavors of the base wine you’re using to complete the palate of your tasty wine based cocktail.
And last, don’t be afraid to use herbs and even vegetables!  Sometimes ingredients like basil or cucumber add even more acidity to an already zesty base wine.
Grilled-fruit-story-imageWhen it comes to your fruit, don’t be afraid to even put a light char from the grill on a few of your favorite fruits, for added interest (pineapple, oranges, star fruit, peaches, mango & plums).
The possibilities are virtually endless and all equally, tempting!

Here are a few new recipe ideas to try on your own!

(Note: Best to combine all ingredients—except for your garnish—and let sit in your fridge overnight for the most flavor before serving) 

(Makes about 16 quarts)

1 mango, peeled, sliced, grilled
1 peach, halved, stone removed, grilled
1 tangelo, sliced, grilled
750mL sparkling Moscato (Choose an inexpensive but tasty one from any corner of the globe.)
4 ounces Cointreau
4 ounces Brandy (something simple, like Korbel or Christian Bros)
2 ounces Ginger simple syrup, or to taste
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

(Makes about 16 quarts)

2 oranges, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wheels, grilled
2 lemons, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wheels, grilled
1 cup pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into slices, and grilled
1 pear, peeled, cored, halved, grilled
1 apple, peeled, cored, halved, grilled
750mL California Chardonnay
4 ounces Cointreau
4 ounces Brandy (something simple, like Korbel or Christian Bros)
2 ounces citrus simple syrup or to taste
Edible flowers for garnish

Black N Blue (1)THE DARK & STORMY
(Makes about 16 quarts)

2c blackberries
2c raspberries
2c black cherries (whole and some cut up)
3c red grapes
2c blueberries
3c strawberries (some whole and some cut up)
2c plums
Star anise (just 2-3 whole per 1 bt of wine)
¼ c black peppercorns
Fresh rosemary (approx 2-3 stalks to 1bts of wine)

For sweetening & to add a little zip to the overall flavor of your sangria, I like to add:
Brandy (we use Korbel – use 1 cup per 1bt of wine)
Cointreau or Grand Marnier (use 1 cup to 1bt of wine)
Blackberry or cherry simple syrup (use to your level of sweetness – generally 1/2 cup to 1bt of wine)
Add a dash of prepared cherry bitters for another layer of earthy texture

Use a few Simple Syrups to kick up your mix, try these!

imgres-2Basic Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
2 cup granulated sugar

Add water and sugar to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring a couple of times to dissolve the sugar, until mixture just boils. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer mixture to a sealed container—a glass jar works nicely—and store in the refrigerator.

Ginger Simple Syrup:
Add 1/2 cup of unpeeled, finely chopped ginger to the water and sugar mixture. Boil for 5 minutes. Cool and store syrup with ginger in it; strain before adding to sangria.
Citrus Simple Syrup:
Instead of water, use 1/2 cup orange juice plus 1/2 cup lemon juice. Add the zest of one orange and one lemon. Cool and store syrup with zest in it; strain before adding to sangria.

sangria-glassSO…WHAT ABOUT THE WINE?

The type of wine you choose for your sangria depends on the flavor you’d like to create: fresh and light, rich and robust or bold and spicy!

Light and grassy!  Fresh notes of kiwi, lime zest, basil, and honeydew will taste just like summer here.

Citrus splash! Pairs perfectly with tangerine, blood orange, and grilled lemon.
Think bubbly!

Pretty as a picture: Ginger, white peach, mango, and mint will make the flavors of Riesling come alive.

Floral & supple. Honeycomb, slices of rich apple and peach are great complements.

Cherry bomb! Combine with a bright herb like basil and lighter red fruits (cherry, cranberry, raspberry).

Bold, with muscular notes that work well with blackberry, whole peppercorns, and cinnamon stick.  Even grilled black fruits work best here!

Peppery, with a hint of smoke. Pair with blueberry, raspberry, star anise, vanilla bean, clove, and black pepper.

Combine with sage, oregano, thyme and red fruits (strawberry, raspberry, plum) for a taste of the old world.

Quick Tip:  Read the back of the bottle!  Does the description read: blackberry, cherry & anise?  Then throw those same ingredients into your sangria jar with that exact bottle and voila!  A fool proof way to build the best Sangria.  

So, get to it!  Spoil your Mom this Mother’s Day and whip up a tasty Sangria just her style!


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