Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Texas Summer Sangria

I am obsessed with this book. Seriously. Since buying it I have become such a sangria fiend that I now think of sangria as a season. In much the same way that some people welcome the coming of fall because it means the beginning of football season, I welcome spring because it means that I can make sangria again.

Hello, lover.

I've made almost every sangria recipe in the book, so it was sort of inevitable that eventually I would create my own. I wanted to do a flavor combo that I hadn't tried before, and I wanted to use fruits that are in season in Houston right now - a little taste of Texas summer in every sip. Here's what I came up with:

1 750 mL bottle red wine*
1.5 cups blackberries**
3 peaches, pitted and sliced**
1/2 cup simple syrup
1/4 cup cognac***

*I used a Messina Hof shiraz, in keeping with the whole Texas thing, but really any red wine will do as long as it's not too sweet. Good bets are shiraz/syrah, cabernet, or merlot. One of the great things about sangria is that you don't need to use expensive wine - I've made sangria with four-dollar wine and loved it.
**See the last post for info about where to get farm-fresh fruit in Houston.
***It's okay to use cheap cognac, too.

Put the berries and simple syrup in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes. The goal here is to release some of the berry flavor, so you'll know it's ready when the berries start to lighten in color just slightly and the syrup starts to thicken. Take off the heat and set aside. Pour the bottle of wine into a pitcher (I always end up tasting a little at this point because hey, wine is delcious), and add the cognac, peaches, and syrup/berry mixtures. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 8 hours) - this will let the flavors marry. (And don't flavors deserve happiness just like anyone else?)

The Verdict:
I took my first sip of my first pitcher of my first sangria, fully prepared to have to add some OJ or peach liqueur or something to get that perfect balance. I was blown away. It was like heaven in a glass. (I know I say all my drinks are good - because I wouldn't post them if they weren't - but seriously, this will blow your mind.) Sweet burst of peach, hearty red wine, nice berry finish. I took it to a party and it was a huge hit and disappeared almost immediately. I was very flattered, but also a little disappointed - because I sort of wanted to drink the whole thing myself.

Easy to make. Hard to share.


  1. I like reading about your drinks, Nancy, and I've been craving sangria lately. Maybe I'll try this even though I don't live in Texas anymore.

  2. oh man, this stuff was amazing. good thing there was only one pitcher because i definitely would have had trouble being a responsible drinker otherwise. you're good you.