Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sparkling Peach Sangria with Strawberry Simple Syrup


Everything is better sparkling, right?  That's what I think, especially when it comes to sangria.  The other day I was thinking about how much fun this summer has been.  We've actually done a lot and I think hit all the "must-do" summer activities.  Go to the beach - check, go to the pool - check, relax and read a book - check, do something a little crazy - check, BBQ - big check :) But after mentally going through the past few months, I realized that something was missing.  Sangria!  I realized that I had not made this delicious and casual afternoon drink for at least a year! Time to change that.

Sangria takes your favorite wine (red, white, or sparkling in my case) to a new level with the addition of fresh summer fruit.  Amazing.  I tend to prefer white sangria over red...   I think it stems from my first date with Chris a lonnnnng time ago at Jaleo in Bethesda, MD.  Jaleo is an incredible tapas restaurant by the famed Chef José Andrés.  It was over a pitcher of Jaleo's famous white wine sangria that I really got to know my future husband.  So not only do I just generally like booze with fruit in it, it also has a special meaning :)


This sangria is something I put together after a trip home from the farmers market.  (Most recipes start out that way, right?) These beautiful white peaches were calling my name, so the peaches, strawberries, oranges and a few lemon slices were combined with my favorite - a bubbly Cava.  The secret ingredient to this sangria is a quick homemade strawberry simple syrup.  Sounds difficult, right?  It's not, I promise - all you need is strawberry, sugar and corn starch.  Throw all of those ingredients together in a small pot on the stove, and 10 minutes later you have your own simple syrup. It's so easy!  And the level of flavor and sweetness it adds to the sangria is a wow-factor.  Give this recipe a shot!


Ingredients
serves 4, to serve a larger group definitely double the recipe

1 bottle sparkling wine, Cava works best
2 large ripe white peaches, de-pitted and sliced
1 pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 orange, peeled and segments sliced in half
2-3 slices of lemon
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup water


Method

To make simple syrup - combine about 10 sliced strawberries in a saucepan with water, sugar and corn starch.  Heat on medium-high heat for about 5-6 minutes until the syrup starts to thicken.  You might have to make some adjustments - add more corn starch if it is not thickening, too thick add more water.  Once thickened, let cool to room temperature.  Use a strainer and strain strawberries from the rest of the syrup.

In a glass pitcher add the peaches, the rest of the strawberries, orange segments and lemon slices.  Next uncork the champagne (a "whooooo" is mandatory) and slowly add it to the pitcher.  If you add too much at once, you will overflow.  Lastly, add the strawberry simple syrup and ice.  Give it a good stir and serve to your lucky guests!   Enjoy the summer!!




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