The Infusion Revolution: Spicy Sangria!
The transition from winter to spring has begun. It’s time to finish up that red wine and start making those yummy icy beverages! This year, it’s all about the infused cocktail. Infusing liquor involves adding fresh fruit, herbs and spices to alcohol and letting it sit for a period of time that allows the liquid to absorb and blend your ingredients together. Whether a small or large batch, the key to a perfect infused cocktail is preparation and time. The longer your ingredients sit the better blended they become. Most infusions take at least 8 hours to set in, some can sit up to a month before drinking.
Nothing is sexier than a spicy sangria. The two step preparation process has several ingredients and takes some time but well worth it when it hits your lips! Pairs well with Spanish tapas and seafood.
First make your spicy syrup:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 star anise pods
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1-inch slice of fresh ginger
Preparation: In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, star anise, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks and ginger. Bring to a simmer over high heat, stir to dissolve the sugar completely. Boil until reduced by one third and slightly syrupy, around 15 minutes. Let the spice syrup cool, then strain into a strong glass jar.
One 750-ml bottle dry red wine, such as Grenache, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup light rum
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1 1/2 cups club soda
2 navel oranges (peeled, halved, seeded and cut into large pieces)
1 lime (peeled, halved, seeded and cut into large pieces)
1 Granny Smith apple (halved, cored and cut into large slices)
1 Bartlett pear (halved, cored and cut into large dice)
Preparation: Pour the red wine into a 3-quart pitcher. Stir in the orange juice, rum, brandy, Cointreau, club soda and 1/4 cup of the spicy syrup; add more syrup if you prefer a sweeter sangria. Add the diced oranges, lime, apple and pear and refrigerate overnight. Serve the sangria in tall glasses over ice. Garnish with a tablespoon of the diced fruit or fresh mint leaves.
Spicy Sangria can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. The spicy syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.