I like sangria a lot, but there’s one massive problem with most sangria recipes that are circulating out there. They assume you: a) have an enormous number of people partaking with you, b) you’re a lush, or c) you’re okay with leftovers going flat. None of these options suit me. Oh sure, I have an enormous number of people at my house at most times, but five-sevenths of them are not of drinking age, and I’m not that kind of mom. Can I get an amen out there from someone?
I have a solution. You knew that was coming right?
Raise your hand if you want a straw and a lounge chair and a glass of that right now. Yes? My hand is up, too. Way up. This solves all of my sangria related issues simultaneously PLUS another one I didn’t mention yet. Sweetness. Good golly, the prepackaged stuff is awfully sweet. And a lot of homemade recipes call on you to pour in lemon-lime soda or simple syrup which just about makes my teeth rattle. Never fear, though, my darling sweet-tooth friends… This is my favourite word; customizable. Happy sigh.
So what do we have here? We have a mixed berry and basil (don’t look at me like that. I’ll explain shortly.) sangria that is made up by the glass rather than pitcher or vat (Hallelujah!) and can be made with white wine (“leaded”) or white grape juice (Mocktail). That’s right… Foodie with Family is pleasing all the people all the time. I am doing a victory dance you wouldn’t believe right now.
How do we make this happen? We make this magic with ice cubes.
Wait for it.
Not just any ice cubes go into this, though, they’re the flavour component that screams sangria folks. That’s what makes this a by-the-glass option. I fill ice cube trays with fresh blueberries, although in a pinch, you could use frozen berries. Over the blueberries we pour plain old white grape juice. I use unsweetened because, well, see above. Also? Because I’m nearing forty. I have one more birthday before the big four-oh and my waistline reminds me of this. Into the freezer go the ice cube trays and then into zipper top freezer bags go the ice cubes to await the perfect sangria moment.
This is where it gets exciting for me.
When we do these, we bust out two different shaped glasses. This is our visual reference to make sure the kids don’t sip from the adult glasses, but we start the mocktail and the leaded versions the same way. Two or three of our blueberry/grape juice ice cubes, a couple of hulled and halved strawberries, and two or three fresh basil leaves.
Here’s the fun part for me… I love serving something festive to the kids while my husband and I have a sip or two. In the adult glasses, we pour a standard pour of white wine (three-quarters of a cup of, in our case, pinot grigio), followed by a splash of white grape juice, then a topping-off of plain seltzer water. In the kids’ glasses, we pour three quarters of a cup of white grape juice and top the glass off with plain seltzer. We give each glass a hearty stir and start a-sipping. Now you can adjust the sweetness if you would like. Want it sweeter? Just add a bit more grape juice. Ta-da!
It really is that easy.
My word, though, this is so refreshing in either form. Sparkly, slightly sweet, berry-and-basil fresh; this is the stuff to whet your whistle when the temperature is soaring.
Has anyone asked, “Why basil?” yet? Let me fill you in on this front… Basil plays very nicely indeed with fruits. If you doubt me, go cut a thin strip of basil and wrap it around the fresh berry of your choice, pop it in your mouth and chomp down. There’s something about the perfume of the basil that heightens the flavour of any berry it accompanies. It’s time basil makes it into more than just marinara, people. Free your basil!
Oh, and should you WISH to make a pitcher of this, you’re welcome to do so. It’s just pitchers of hooch don’t flow like water around my house, and this is a way we can still enjoy the fun that is sangria without compromising our moderation. What do you think? Can you see yourself with your feet up enjoying a glass (or two) of this?