The New-Look Sangria

I couldn’t resist this one.  I love light flavorful drinks to accompany summer food.  Shouldn’t beverages be just as fresh-tasting and inspirational as the first seasonal specialties we put on our plates?  Eric Asimov writes in his column “The Pour” at the New York Times about sangria; he has shared four recipes for new and inspired versions of a summer classic.  So, in the spirit of re-discovering the charms of sangria, I tried this white wine, herb-scented version.  It did not disappoint.  Not overly alcoholic and full of fresh flavor, this wine and sake mix is sweetened with a lemongrass syrup and garnished with green fruit.  There will be a pitcher of this delightful drink at the ready in our house in the weeks to come.

Sangria Compostela
(makes about 6 cups, 4-6 servings)
1 cup sugar
3 lemongrass stalks, chopped
10 ounces unsweetened apple juice
1/2 sprig rosemary
24 ounces albarino
7 1/2 ounces sake
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
5 ounces club soda
Kiwi, green apples, pears, cut into small cubes for garnish
Rosemary sprig, for garnish
For the lemongrass syrup:  In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, chopped lemon grass and 1/2 cup water.  Place over medium heat until boiling.  Remove from the heat and strain the syrup, discarding lemon grass.  Allow to cool.  (May be covered and refrigerated.)  For the rosemary-infused apple juice:  In a blender, combine the apple juice and rosemary.  Blend for 10 seconds.  Pour the mixture through a fine strainer, discarding solids, and set aside.  For the sangria:  In a pitcher, combine the albarino, sake, lemon juice and club soda.  Add the rosemary-infused apple juice and 3 ounces of lemon grass syrup; mix well.  Garnish and serve straight up or over ice.
(Adapted from Gonzalo Marin via Eric Asimov, The New York Times)

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