Confession: I don’t drink alcohol…
That’s not 100% true. I say that in the same way that I say that I don’t eat meat. I’m not going to run out an eat a fast food burger, but I will, on occasion, prepare and enjoy some sensitively raised, well prepared meats.
Similarly, I have no interest in consuming a case of cheap beer or a liquor-spiked sugary soft drink. However my interest in broad culinary horizons and my attendance at lovely foodie parties has got me slipping back the occasional culinary cocktail.
One beverage that I have come to enjoy is Sangria. Not lousy sangria served in cheap plastic pitches, but good sangria made with really great fruit.
My first venture into sangria making was for a party for my co-workers. Inspired by the peak of blood orange season, I squeezed up 8 pounds of them, mixed with bubbly prosecco, a splash of brandy, a squeeze of lemon, agave nectar and fresh mint. After sitting for about an hour, this refreshing drink took on a magical flavor. I made more than a gallon of this stuff and it disappeared quite fast.
Now we are full swing into strawberry season in Southern California and damn are these strawberries good… and cheap! Coming home from the farmer’s market with an abundance of them, I decided to make some strawberry sangria.
I juiced the berries, then mixed with prosecco, brandy, agave nectar, sliced strawberries and lemons and some fresh basil leaves. Using sparkling wine lets you skip watering down your sangria with sparkling water or, god forbid, some sparkling HFCS sweetened beverage. The basil flavor isn’t strong, but it’s just enough to brighten the subtle flavors of the berries.
I don’t drink… but this stuff was so good I made it two Sundays in a row.
Strawberry Sangria Makes Four Cups
- 1 cup fresh Strawberry Juice
- 2 cups Prosseco
- 2 tbs Brandy
- 1 tbs Agave
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 1 Lemon, sliced
- 1 cup sliced Strawberries
- a handful of fresh Basil Leaves
- To make the strawberry juice, blend stemmed fresh strawberries in a blender or food processor. Once liquified, pour into a bowl lined with a large, doubled sheet of cheese cloth. Bunch up the cloth and squeeze the juice out. This will leave the seeds in the cheese cloth.
- Mix the prosecco, brandy, agave and lemon juice into the strawberry juice. Taste and adjust sweet/sour according to your taste, remember that the sliced strawberries you’ll be adding will increase the sweetness over time.
- Mix in the sliced berries and lemon. Bruise the basil leaves by rolling and unrolling them in your fingers a few times. Mix in the basil leaves. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for at least and hour, preferably longer.
- To serve, ladle over ice, making sure plenty of fruit makes it into your glass.