The sweaters are coming off, the birds are singing, the flowers are in bloom, the Earth smells of awakening, our pale winter bodies rejoice in some sun and processed Vitamin D… it’s spring time, baby!
It might not be bathing suit time yet, but it sure is “park yourself on the porch, and enjoy a tasty beverage time!” This weekend – you, some sun, and a pitcher of this tasty sangria.
Strawberries are just starting to hit their stride, so I thought they’d be a great star in this take on white sangria. Orange and Grand Marnier piggyback on the earthiness of muddled basil, while St. Germain, white wine, and champagne bring it all home.
I think that a good white sangria should be drier than sweet, but feel free to add sugar or simple syrup if you prefer more sweetness. Same with the citrus, I like that the orange zest imparts immediate flavor, but orange slices could be added for a more aggressive citrus flavor.
Nature doesn’t need our help in the flavor department, but booze soaked fruit, pretty darn good! A particular incident in college springs to mind. A pitcher of pineapples soaked in vodka for New Years Eve wasn’t quite ready on New Years Eve, as it was prepared about an hour before midnight. So silently it sat in the back of our fridge, until one fateful day. Our dear friend Nicky comes to visit from Maryland, we
force convince him to help us put together a grill in the hot hot heat, and we figure this might be the time dive into five-month old, brined, pineapple. Half a slice in, things got real interesting, and we had to pump the breaks. Moral of the story – don’t eat pineapples soaked in vodka for months, but do enjoy strawberries that have been getting busy with wine and liqueur for the day.
If you don’t want your guests, or yourself, fishing basil or orange strips out of their teeth, feel free to strain or pour through a pitcher with a small mouth. However you drink it, enjoy!
Strawberry Basil Sangria
1 cup loosely packed basil
8 large strawberries, washed and thinly sliced
zest of 1 large orange
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 cup St. Germain liqueur
1 750-ml bottle Pinot Grigio
1 750-ml bottle sparkling wine or champagne, chilled
In a large pitcher gently muddle basil. Add strawberries, orange zest, Grand Marnier, St. Germain and Pinot Grigio, stir.
Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, optimally 4-5.
Spoon some fruit into glasses, add ice, pour sangria overtop, top with champagne and additional basil leaves and sliced strawberries, if desired. Enjoy!