Refreshing and delicious, easy to make and easy to drink, sangria makes any gathering a party. Although Spain is considered the home of sangria, it has been adapted around the globe, with variations in the type of wine used as well as the fruits and flavorings. Experiment with various herbs used singly or in combinations of no more than four or five herbs. Some of the best herbs to use are lemon balm, lemon verbena, borage, rose geranium, sage, rosemary, lavender, anise hyssop, bee balm, pineapple sage or sweet woodruff, as well as the many different basils, mints or thymes. With the bounty of fruits available, the combinations are limitless.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup turbinado or coconut sugar
4 4-inch fresh spearmint sprigs
4 4-inch fresh thyme sprigs
2 4-inch fresh rosemary sprigs
1 bottle (750 ml) white wine, such as
pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
1/2 cup orange liqueur
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in half
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh spearmint leaves
1/2 bottle (1L) sparkling water, chilled
In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, add herbs, cover and let steep until mixture is room temperature.
In a large pitcher or punch bowl, combine wine, liqueur, fruit and mint leaves. Strain the sugar syrup (discard herbs) and add to the wine mixture. If possible, chill the mixture overnight to allow flavors to blend. Add sparkling water just before serving. To serve immediately after preparing, use chilled wine and serve over ice.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Recipe by Maggie Oster
Photograph © Marianne Majerus / MMGI
Excerpt from Herb Gardens 2014 wall calendar