While finishing up the liquor room inventory at the restaurant earlier this week, I was re-introduced to the shelf of disgestifs, eau de vie, and fortified wines that don’t get as much love as the Citrus Vodkas and Jack Daniels.
You know, the decorative bottles with intimidating names like Galliano, Pernod, Aperol, Poire Williams, Anisette.
On a simultaneous mission to punch up a seasonal Sangria, I thought, why not give these old girls a chance to shine.
The liqueurs I settled on were the very on trend and floral St. Germain, the delicious smelling Poire Williams, and the Harvey Wallbanger staple, Galliano.
When selecting a wine for white Sangria, you want to take advantage of the many competitively priced, relatively neutral wines like Chablis, Torrontes, Albarino.
Gewurztraminers and Rieslings (not late-harvest) will work, too, they will just be a bit sweeter.
If you don’t have the 4-24 hours on hand to really extract the fruit flavors, I have had decent results with Barefoot wines’ Moscato. It’s sweet and fruity already, so won’t need as much time to absorb the character of the fruits.
I find Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris to be a bit too astringent, and Chardonnays to be too oaky, but an un-oaked Chardonnay would probably be fine.
Handily separated by the geographic region where the ingredients should be readily available, are the results:
California: Pineapple-Ginger Sangria
1 bottle of dry white wine
4 oz fresh ginger
¼ c sugar
¼ c St. Germain liquer
Pomegranate seeds (for garnish)
Peel and slice ginger into long, thin chunks. Peel and dice pineapple. Slice lemons into thin rounds, removing seeds. Beginning with the pineapple, alternate layers of pineapple, lemon, and ginger, sprinkling with sugar every 2-3 layers until all fruit and sugar are used. Let the fruit macerate for 10-15 minutes.
Pour in ½ the bottle of wine, followed by the St. Germain. Finish with the rest of the wine. Allow to steep for 4-24 hours.
Serve over ice, topped with a kiss of sparkling wine, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
New England: Pear Cranberry Sangria
¼ lb of fresh cranberries (could also substitute pitted red cherries)
¼ c of sugar
¼ c. of Poire Williams Pear Brandy (another brandy should work, too, it just won’t be as Pear-licious)
1-2 Vanilla Beans *
Rinse the cranberries and let dry. Slice the pears and limes into 1/8-1/4 inch wide rounds. Layer a layer of limes, then a layer of pears, in the bottom of a ½ gallon container. Sprinkle the pears with a light dusting of sugar. Sprinkle on a layer of cranberries. Continue with alternate layers of fruit and sugar until all pears, limes, sugar, and cranberries have been used. Split the vanilla beans and scrape the beans out; toss the on top. Let the fruit macerate in the sugar for 10-15 minutes. You should see a little syrup start to form at the bottom of the jar.
Pour ½ the wine over the top of the fruit. Follow with the brandy, then the rest of the wine. Allow to steep for 4-24 hours. Serve over ice, topped with a kiss of sparkling wine.
* if you don’t like the idea of vanilla beans floating around in your glass, you can substitute a tablespoon of clear vanilla extract
Midwest: Mulled Apple Sangria
1 Bottle of dry white wine
3 apples (a mix of Red and Green is very holiday)
2 pods star anise (cinnamon sticks could also be substituted)
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. Galliano
Zest oranges in long strips. Peel off white pith, then segment oranges. Slice apples into thin rounds or wedges. Beginning with the orange slices, alternate layers of oranges, apples, and zest, sprinkling with sugar every 2-3 layers until all fruit and sugar are used. Let the fruit macerate for 10-15 minutes.
Toss in the whole star anise pods. Top with ½ of the wine, followed by the Galliano. Finish with the rest of the wine. Allow to steep for 4-24 hours.
Serve over ice, topped with a kiss of sparkling wine.
I only have pictures of the Pineapple-Ginger Sangria, because I just mixed up a batch at home to take to a brunch this morning… Companion photos for the other two will follow.