Suzi's Blog

Brian’s Strawberry and Plum Sangria

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Officially, sangria is a common beverage from Spain and Portugal. The standard recipe consists of wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener, and brandy. The sweetener is most often a shot of sugar, although honey and orange juice can be employed. The brandy is traditional but in this new of age of extravagant liqueurs, just about anything goes. St-Germain elderflower liqueur is, for example, an interesting brandy substitute.

Thanks to the European Union, the term “sangria” can now appear on labels only for products made in either Spain or Portugal.

I do not intend to mass produce and label my Strawberry and Plum Sangria, so I think I am free from potential prosecution. And I’m assuming those little black things floating near the kitchen ceiling are just early mosquitos and not mini-drones sent in by the EU to check me out.

I remember seeing the movie 1984 and being scared out of my mind about the world to come. In retrospect, 1984 was a cakewalk. I think I can use that word. I don’t think the EU has restricted its use yet but I probably should check. Check on everything.

This sangria is made with white wine, not red. Sangria fruits tend to be either citrus or berry or apple/melon/pear. I think that berries, particularly, strawberries are the easiest and fastest way to infuse flavor into sangria. Apple can take an eternity. Strawberries do have a strong single note of flavor. That is why I have added plums here. Plums have a more subtle flavor, almost an undertone that just mellows the high peaks of strawberry sensation.

 

Brian’s Strawberry and Plum Sangria

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries
  • 6 very ripe plums
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1 750ml bottle of dry white wine [Spanish Rioja]

Preparation:

Wash and dry the fruit. Cut the tops off the strawberries, then slice them into three or four separate pieces. You want to get surface area here to provide the most contact between the berries and the wine.

Slice the plums making sure the pit is discarded.

Add the fruit to a large glass pitcher. Add the sugar and brandy, stir to mix. Slowly pour in the wine. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/50th second at ISO‑2500

 

 

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I was making sangria this weekend and I had two assets: time and a great Cab.

Time was important because like many of you I am often tempted to “throw sangria together” at the last moment — or perhaps the last hour. I do give it time to chill, but not really the time to mellow and let all the flavors rise to the occasion and max the mix. I had four hours on Saturday.

And, for that wine, I had a bottle of Don Melchor, the superior Cabernet Sauvignon from Concha Y Toro in Chile. This wine is a sophisticated delight on its own, with fine cheese, or the intensity of a steak streaked with black and juicy red in the center.

Use that quality wine in a sangria? Yes. Definitely. Hell, yes. You are not in college anymore, you know. You’ve got 40 years left? Goodness, you have less than 16,000 nights of imbibing left. Don’t waste one precious opportunity. Sangria can be as wonderfully exciting and marvelous as any wine beverage if …

If you use time and use your ingredients to their full advantage. I had my Cab. I had a perfectly ripe mango. And I had a pint of peaking strawberries. One sangria technique, the quick one, is to cut up the fruit, dump it into the wine, perhaps add some sugar, and top it off with a quantity of something strong: say a cup of brandy. That’s the wrong way to go. You want to cut the fruit and let it macerate with some sugar and an appropriately selective liqueur. You do that for some time to extract juice, and therefore flavor, from the fruit.

That is the trick I employed here: use a different liqueur for each fruit. Literally, match the liqueur to the fruit. For the tropical mango, what better thing than Cachaca from Brazil. For the strawberries, Fragoli strawberry liqueur for the berries. The result? A densely, intensely flavorful sangria. Full of fruit notes that swirl in your mouth in great complexity. Berry then mango then back to berry. The flavors dash about, never competing, but surely reinforcing. And beneath it all is the base flavor of that lovely Chilean Cab.

Sophisticated Sangria

Yield: 6 large portions

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of strawberries, husked and halved
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of Fragoli strawberry liqueur
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of Cachaca
  • 1 bottle of Don Melchor

Preparation:

Place the strawberry halves in a small bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Top with the Fragoli, and stir to mix.

In a second bowl, place the mango slices. Sprinkle with sugar, top with the Cachaca and stir to mix. Cover both bowls and refrigerate for two hours.
Open the Don Melchor and pour into a pitcher. Empty the two fruit bowls into the pitcher and stir to mix. Refrigerate for two more hours.

Serve in chilled glasses adorned with strawberry halves or slice of lemon or lime.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Credits: Canon T2i, 18-55mm lens at F/6, 1/60th second at ISO 3200 [no flash]