Measure & Stir

A Craft Cocktail Blog for the Home Bartender that Focuses on Original Creations Drawn from Culinary Inspiration.


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Peach Sangria

For a party last weekend, James and I made peach sangria. Most people, I have found, are skeptical when I tell them that I am going to serve them sangria. They have, perhaps, a mental image of a cloying wine kool aid, syrupy, carbonated, disgusting. But sangria can be also be beautiful, subtle, sophisticated… if only you treat her like a lady. First, in my mind, there is no room in red sangria for fruit juice or carbonation*. Rather I like to make it as an infusion of fruit in wine, fortified with spirits. In this instance I followed my go-to recipe, which I am going to share with you now, but with one modification; last time I made this sangria, I had not yet learned the secrets of oleo saccharum, that most unctuous of syrups, and I felt a strong intuition that it would improve the subtle orange qualities of the drink.

(*We did a white sangria not too long ago, which contained both fruit juice and sparkling wine, but it was a different beast all together. Really, “white sangria” is a bit of an oxymoron.)

Take a look here, feast your eyes on all those glorious citrus oils floating on its surface:

Peach Sangria
6 Bottles of Your Favorite Rioja
500 ml Triple Sec (Cointreau)
500 ml Cognac (Salignac)
Oleo Saccharum of 12 Oranges
6 lbs of Peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
Allow the mixture to infuse over night, and then top with two sliced lemons right before serving. Pour over ice as you serve.

The brandy in this recipe is critical, for it adds notes of wooden complexity that give the drink a three dimensional quality on the palate. Without it, the punch tastes a bit flat. What is perhaps most striking about this sangria is its dryness. Though it acquires a mellow peach roundness, it retains the dry tannin notes from the rioja, a wine which, as a genre, has hints of strawberry and vanilla that marry well with orange and peach. Whenever I need to serve a lot of drinks in a pinch, this is my method. It does not work in the winter months, when peaches are scarce, but in summer it is perfect for a trip to the beach or an afternoon barbecue.

Indeed, these were the last peaches of the season. I have played with the idea of infusing spices into the wine for winter, but I’m not sure if that can still properly be called sangria. Cheers!


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Pineapple Gewurtztraminer Sangria

Happy Washington state liquor independence day! Starting today, liquor sales are privatized in the state of Washington, and I will fight anyone who thinks this is a bad thing.

It was a very summery weekend and my friend John had invited me to a bbq in the park. I have found that sangria is perfect for a picnic, and I wanted to try something a little different from my standard rioja, orange, peach, brandy routine, so I picked up some Gewurtztraminer, carved up a pineapple and set it out to infuse. Sangria is best if you allow it to infuse over night, but if you don’t drink it all the next day, it’s not worth hanging onto. For this sangria I wanted to follow a tropical theme, so I added kiwis and orange supremes, the former of which contributed much more to the presentation than they did to the end flavor.

I knew that going in, but the romance and the drama of a drink can contribute as much to its success as its flavor. At the end of the day, you are drinking sugared ethanol,  so don’t settle for function without form. Perfect every tiny detail of the drink, in order to elevate the whole experience.

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Tropical Sangria

One whole pineapple, carved into chunks

8 kiwis, sliced and peeled

6 Oranges, juice

4 Oranges, cut into supremes

2 cups of traditional white rum (Wray and Nephew)

1 cup of triple sec (Patron Citronge)

6 bottles (4.5 Liters) of Gewurtztraminer (Fetzer)

Allow the whole mixture to sit overnight. Chill before serving.

Since we drank this at a picnic, I ended up pouring it over crushed ice, which I chipped from a block of ice using my new ice pick. The funky flavor of the Wray and Nephew complimented the pineapple very well, but the kiwi was completely lost, as I had predicted. It might have contributed to the overall flavor, as it has a lot in common with the rum in this drink, but I doubt I would have missed it.

At first tasting, the rum was too strong, but after mellowing for a night, the flavors really came together, and the end result was crisp, dry, and fruity. Those with a sweet tooth might consider adding simple syrup to sweeten it up, but I would do this very slowly, in 1/4 cup increments. A little bit of sweetness could bring out the fruit, but too much would crush the delicate notes in the wine.