Have you been eyeing those bottles of pre-made sangria at your local store? Well, I am here to save you. Don't do it. Seriously, just walk away. It is never as good as you think it will be, and is likely full of sugar...not that you're looking for a health beverage when sipping the 'gria, but if you're going to treat yourself, at least do it with quality ingredients!
This week, I proclaimed that I needed to take part in more summery activities, despite being busy at school. A picnic dinner was in order!! I made an effort to prep extra pesto and tomato pasta the night before (still loving the gluten-free pasta from Trader Joe's!), using CSA basil and some homegrown tomatoes. And, to make it super special, (drum role!) sangria to sip on while enjoying the evening. Needless to say, I was impressed with myself, considering the past 2 weeks have been super busy and quite stressful at school (read: a major impetus for making this white sangria was the fact that I may or may not have left a bottle of pinot in my freezer, thus renduring the cork to almost explode out of the bottle, leaving my freezer a wine-y, sticky mess; I think mostly frozen white wine is the perfect occasion to make this sangria, and laugh at the crappy last week you had while sipping on the repurposed wine). PS: those are basil flowers floating on top of the 'gria. They are super fragrant and of course, totally edible.
This sangria is a bit lighter than the traditional red sangria. It has a heavy note of citrus, is fortified with white wine and brandy (or cognac, which is all I had on hand; feel free to use either, or even triple sec if you have it), and is then elevated to a summery level with a basil simple syrup. I have seen recipes that call for various fresh fruit and berries (peaches! raspberries! strawberries!), so add those as you would like. Seriously, who ever complained about boozy-wine marinated fruit on a hot summer evening? If you don't have basil, you can omit it. Mint could be a sub, but it may combat the brandy/cognac flavor...if you try the mint, let me know how it goes! If you'd like to take the sangria to a lighter level, consider topping off glasses of this with sparkling water or ginger beer. Either way, cheers to summer-get out there and enjoy it while it lasts!
PS: not a fan of white wine? Or prefer the more traiditional red sangria? Check out this recipe at Minimalist Baker! I may have to make this one for the weekend ahead...!
Citrus and Basil White Sangria // plant-based; vegan; refined sugar-free; nut-free; oil-free; gluten-free // makes five 8 oz. cups, enough for 2-3 people to share //
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4-1/2 cup agave, honey or coconut nectar (I used 1/4 to keep it not too sweet; you can use sugar in a pinch)
- 10-12 large basil leaves
- 1 bottle white wine (I used Italian Pinot Grigio)
- 3 oranges or similar cirtus, or 6 clemintines, cut into thin slices
- 1/2 grapefruit, cut into thin half moon slices (I used an organic white grapefruit)
- 1 lemon, yellow skin peeled into 1" wide strips (I got about 6 strips)
- 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
- 1/4-1/2 cup orange juice (I used freshly squeezed, but quality bottled juice works too)
- optional: sparkling water or ginger beer; fresh berries or peach slices, or other fruit desired; additional basil leaves and flowers.
1. combine the water, sweetener, halve the lemon strips, and basil in a small pan. Heat to a gentle simmer (if using sugar, be sure it is all dissolved). Off the heat, and steep for 10-20 minutes. You may do this up to 1 day ahead, and simply place the basil infusion into the fridge in a covered container or jar.
2. In a large jar or other container that will hold ~5 cups, combine all the ingredients, other than the sparkling water or ginger beer if using, and any berries/fruit you want to garnish with.
3. Allow the sangria to steep for at least 20 minutes, up to overnight. Pour into glasses, topping off with sparking water or ginger beer, and garnishing with additonal fresh fruit if desired. The sangria can sit in the fridge in a glass container with a lid for a few days while you enjoy it, or can even be made several days ahead. Enjoy!
All the stuff!
The citrus. I love the colors!!
My super tiny and cute 8 oz. copper pot with the basil, water, sweetener (I used coconut nectar) and lemon peel. Why? Because this is a great excuse to use such a tiny pot, and because my Dad got it for me for christmas last year...so there!
The finished sangria! This was 24 hours after I prepped it. The flavors steeped, the fruit got boozy, and I got increasingly excited about drinking this as the day progressed. Totally easy and worth it! Cheers!
Refreshing, slightly boozy, a little herbal from the basil, and a bit tart from the grapefruit. Of course, I sprinkled some basil flowers on top...cause why not?
Cheers to summer!