The somewhat awkward season between spring and summer is actually one of my favorite times of year. It’s the time when the first soft and fragrant apricots appear in the stores, along with the gorgeous white cherries that might be called Rainiers or Napoleons.
Besides their delicate flavors, these fruits look beautiful together, so I decided to make up a special white sangria to use these early summer fruits. The market had some gleaming white Asian pears that looked very fresh and juicy, so I threw those in the mix too. Of course, the wine in this sangria is a sparkling wine, in this case a bottle of sparkling pinot grigio that I had snagged from Trader Joe’s. Sangria doesn’t need expensive wine, something in the $5 to $8 range works just fine.
Apricot & White Cherry Sangria
Makes 8 servings
8 fresh apricots, cut in quarters
1 cup white cherries, pitted and halved
1 white Asian pear, cored and diced
1 lemon halved and thinly sliced in half moons
Juice of 1 orange or 2 tangerines
1/2 cup apricot brandy
1/2 cup Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (at BevMo)
1/2 cup Landy Cognac
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange bitters
1 bottle brut sparkling wine, well chilled
handful fresh mint, torn
Add the apricots, cherries, Asian pear, lemon slices and orange or tangerine juice to a large pitcher. Top with the apricot brandy, Maraschino and Cognac. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. You could let the sangria sit for a while in the refrigerator at this point so the fruit has some time to soak and release its flavors. Or if you’re in a hurry, next add the orange bitters and sparkling wine to the pitcher. Add a cup of crushed ice, since this is a pretty potent sangria or you could add another bottle of sparkling wine if you want it to serve more people. Top with the freshly torn mint and serve by ladling some fruit into each glass and then pouring sangria on top.