It’s hard to feel like celebrating when Cinco de Mayo falls smack dab in the middle of the week. And then the next thing you know, here comes Mother’s Day. I see no reason why you shouldn’t roll the two celebrations into one by mixing up a pitcher of wickedly delicious sangria that everyone in the family will love.
With fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries coming into season, a perfect way to use them is in this Ruby Red Sangria that’s included in my book The Bubbly Bar. Instead of a dry red wine, the base of this one is brachetto, a sweet tart sparkling wine from Piedmont Italy. It tastes of raspberries and roses and was a favorite tipple even in ancient times.
The inspiration for this recipe came from Tom Mastricola, a fabulous mixologist originally from Boston who served it at the pool deck at Arterra in the San Diego Marriott Del Mar. It’s refreshing but has a way of sneaking up on you with the crème de cassis and cognac.
I’ll be showing how to make my Ruby Red Sangria and a Sangria Blanca made with the Spanish sparkling wine cava and sharing some great summer drink tips as the guest mixologist June 5 & 6 at the Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend 2010. More than 20,000 people will be flocking to the magazine’s gorgeous campus in Menlo Park to pick up inspiration and ideas on summer cooking, home entertaining, and gardening. The event sells out, so book early if you want to get tickets.
Ruby Red Sangria
This fragrant sangria stars fresh summer raspberries, blueberries and strawberries with the sweet -tart red sparkling wine from Piedmont, Italy called Brachetto d’Acqui.The cognac and crème de cassis add an extra layer of depth and flavor.
1 cup Landy cognac, chilled
1/2 cup crème de cassis
1/2 cup Homemade Sour Mix
1/4 cup orange juice
1 bottle Brachetto d’Acqui, chilled
8 slices orange
8 slices lemon
Add the berries to a cocktail shaker and muddle them to a juicy pulp. Transfer the muddled berries and juice to a pitcher. Add the cognac, crème de cassis, sour mix and orange juice. Stir well to combine. Just before serving, add the chilled Brachetto to the pitcher. Fill the serving glasses halfway with crushed ice. Add an orange slice and lemon slice to each glass, then fill with the sangria.
Makes 8 servings
I recently picked up some more ideas about sangria while travelling in the Penedès region southwest of Barcelona, which is the center of Spain’s cava sparkling wine production. Gareth York, the Brit export manager for Mont Marçal Cava – available all over the U.S. - shared his own recipe for a Spanish-style sangria. The secret ingredient is European Lemon Fanta, which he says adds just the right sweet tart flavor.
1 750 ml bottle cava (or decent red wine)
750 ml European Lemon Fanta
3/4 cup ruby port wine
1 small glass of brandy or cognac
1 orange, washed, pitted and sliced
1 lemon, washed, pitted and sliced
1 apple, washed, pitted and sliced
1 ripe peach, washed, pitted and sliced
Mix all the liquids together in a large pitcher, add the fruit and macerate in the fridge for four to five hours. Don’t add too much ice as this waters the sangria down. The Lemon Fanta works well as it has a nice balance of sugar and acidity and there is no need to add sugar. The proportions of the wines and Fanta are approx. if you want it to have more of a kick then add a bit less Fanta.
What is important is that the wines are of a decent quality and drinkable. I always said when I was in the kitchen, if you put good wine in a dish, it will be good – if you put a bad wine in a dish it won’t get any better!!