From Spritzers To Sangrias
By Leslee Miller
Everyone needs a good sangria and/or spritzer recipe for the summer, am I right?
Of course, there’s nothing more refreshing that a great glass of chilled white wine in the summer, but what about a ‘wine cocktail’ for keeping your palate cool? This month, I’m sharing five of my favorite spritzer/sangria simple recipes for making your summer that much more refreshing! Easy on the budget and easy to make at home, making YOU look like a complete rock star at your next gathering.
Start with this canned gem: Ramona ruby grapefruit/wine spritzer from Italy. Can we please just take a minute to talk about ‘canned’ wines right now? They are seriously all the rage and for a very good reason. There is a great deal of quality wines going in to can and honestly, they have become some of my favorite things to drink this summer. I love to spruce the Ramona canned spritzer up by running a sprig of tarragon through a grapefruit wedge before adding it to a glass. Simply pour the canned libation over top for one tasty sipper!
Upgrade your weekend Mimosa with this one!
Grab your favorite bottle of Prosecco, slice a few orange wheels and get your hands on W & P’s Italian Spritz Syrup. This is seriously one of the best bubbly drinks you’ll make this summer! Add between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of the Italian spritz syrup to the base of your glass, add an orange wheel and top with Prosecco. Say hello to the weekend!
If you’ve heard me talk about sangrias before, you know I always say ‘get to know the wine you’re with’ first. Meaning, get to know the base notes of the bottle of wine you’re using, before taking off on your sangria adventure. I’m always so frustrated by that recipe that states ‘add white wine’ or ‘add red wine’. Every grape, red or white, displays a wide attribute of flavors. If I’m adding a white, then I should know if I’m adding citric flavors to my concoction when I use a Sauvignon Blanc or fuller, richer flavors like apples and almonds if I’m using a grape like Chardonnay. The same is said for reds: light, bright, cherry flavors from a grape like Pinot Noir or blackberry, chocolatey bold flavors from a grape like Cabernet. In the end, yes…I’m giving you some homework before building your sangria. But it’s WINE homework!
Last note on this: if you smell or taste an ingredient in the base wine, add that EXACT same element to your sangria. Taste grapefruit, add grapefruit. Smell clove, add a couple of cloves to your jar. Smell or taste black pepper, add peppercorns to your base sangria. Boom, a perfect sangria! Also, let your mixture sit overnight for the most infusion of flavor.
Here’s how I built a few like flavored ingredients with a few like flavored wines.
Your base is 1 bottle of Vinho Verde from Portugal – fresh with notes of salt, lime and citrus.
Add one thinly sliced small cucumber, a couple of handfuls of fresh mint, one can of Spindrift’s Lemon sparkling water and a bit of homemade mint simple syrup to taste.
How to make mint simple syrup: Bring 1cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat after water comes to a boil and let sugar dissolve. Add whatever ingredient you’d like to infuse your syrup with. In this case, I let a handful of mint sit with my simple syrup overnight. In the morning, I simply strained the mint from the syrup and put the simple syrup in a small container for storing. Simple syrup will last about a month in your fridge. Use it for not only this sangria recipe (to taste), but it’s great for mojitos, ice teas, punches, etc.
Again, get to know the base of your rosé before heading into this recipe. For example, using a Shiraz based rosé? You might want to go with some heavier, richer fruit like black cherries or blackberries to snuggle up to the flavors of the wine. If you’re dealing with a rosé that is a bit gentler (a Pinot Noir rosé), use blueberries and watermelon as your base fruit. Add a couple of handfuls of basil to lift some lighter flavors from the mix. With this recipe, you can also use a few tinchers of cocktail bitters. The lavender bitters from local bitters company, Dashfire Bitters, is a great choice for this recipe with the watermelon and blueberries. The overall flavor of your sangria becomes a bit richer when you add the bitters. I use a variety of bitters for my sangrias. From cherry, to orange, spice, black pepper and other spices – I use the bitters as a way to add layer and depth to most of my sangrias.
Bold + Spicy Sangria
Use a bolder red wine like Zinfandel or Shiraz as your base wine for this one! Then add approx. 2cup of combined blackberries and raspberries, 1/8 cup of whole black peppercorns, and 5 sprigs of rosemary. Keep in mind, herbs like rosemary are strong. Therefore, if you want to pull that rosemary early to impart just a ‘touch’ of flavor. Last secret element? Yep, more bitters! I used just a touch of an orange bitter is a fun way to enhance a velvety richness from the fruit in the wine. Super fun!
There you have it! All kinds of fun for your next gathering. From Spritzers to Sangrias, there are a zillion ways to enjoy some of your favorite grape based bevis in summertime form. Use these as a way to get your creative ‘juices’ flowing, then it’s time for you to start experimenting on your own!