The Magic of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
A drink called “butterfly pea flower tea sangria” is a mouthful... but it’s a delicious mouthful! For shorthand, let’s call it “magic sangria.”
Before we get into the details of an astoundingly simple recipe that results in a magically delicious sangria unlike any you’ve had before, I’d like to tell you a little about butterfly pea flower tea.
For those of you who don’t know (I just learned it myself), butterfly pea flower tea is made with butterfly pea flowers – or, if you want to get scientific, clitoria ternatea, a blossom found in Thailand and Malaysia.
One very cool thing about this tea is that when you steep it, it turns the water blue. When I heard this, I thought, “Okay, sure, but how blue are we talking?” I thought maaaybe it would have a blue-ish hue, but how blue could it really be? It turns out the answer is: very!
Not just a little blue – very blue!
And! As a magic, color-changing cherry on top of an already awesome beverage, you can add citrus, and before your very eyes, your tea will turn purple! How many naturally-occurring purple drinks have you come across in your life? How many blue? How many start off as one and end up as the other? None! That’s how many. This drink is singularly awesome.
Because of its vivid colors and crowd-pleasing flavors, butterfly pea tea is a perfect blend to showcase at a tea party for kids or teens or to add an extra touch of celebration to a tea-themed birthday party. Whip out a little blue-to-purple chemistry magic, and the crowd goes wild every time!
What causes the transmogrification of color, you may ask? You can choose to believe that it’s the acid in the fruit interacting with an antioxidant in the tea (science would have you believe it’s called anthocyanin), affecting the pH of the drink and thereby changing its color. Or you can believe that it’s fairy magic. I’m not here to tell you that it’s not fairy magic. One way or the other, it makes a delicious purple sangria.
The Magic of Mixology
Whether you’re interested in this butterfly pea flower cocktail for the tea, for the wine, because you love purple, or because you love things that are MAGIC, it doesn’t matter. There are a thousand reasons to get excited about this drink, and you should make it right now.
Plum Deluxe has already brought you a plethora of out-of-the-box, blow-your-mind sangria recipes for all moods and seasons. Today, we add another recipe to your sangria repertoire: Magic Sangria – Butterfly Pea Flower Sangria with Pineapple and Lemon.
And honestly, it couldn’t be simpler.
As with any tea-based sangria, you’ll need four essential ingredients: tea, wine, fruit, and time.
In the world of tea, as always, we’ve got you covered. Magic Butterfly herbal blend takes the naturally earthy (and beautifully pigmented) butterfly pea flower and combines it with a luscious medley of fruity and floral elements: apple pieces, rosehips, hibiscus, strawberries, raspberries, orange peel, and lemongrass, just for starters. The resulting brew is a perfectly balanced, consistently pleasing cuppa that will delight every one of your senses equally.
For the wine, you’ll definitely want to choose a white. The color properties of butterfly tea will get lost in the ruby hue of a traditionally red-based sangria. I personally enjoy a nice Sauvignon Blanc for this cocktail; you’ll often find herbaceous, fruity notes that wonderfully complement the flavors of the Magic Butterfly blend. Lime, passionfruit, grapefruit, and green apple are all fairly common tasting notes for Sauvignon Blanc, as are grassy, crisp, and acidic.
In the end, what really matters is that you choose a wine you know you will like. If you start with a base wine you love, chances are you’ll love the final result!
Because of the relatively high acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, I have found that the “blue” portion of the steeping process doesn’t really apply with this varietal. The wine turns a smokey lavender as it steeps, even before the addition of lemon; once you add your citrus, the lavender brightens to a lovely amethyst. If you’re hoping for a blue sangria, you may want to experiment with wine that has a lower acidic rate (and leave out the lemons – play around with other, low acid fruits instead).
For a color-changing sangria to wow your guests, choose a low-acid wine and low-acid fruits, then squeeze in your lemon or lime juice as your serve. If your goal is purple sangria, Magic Sangria is the way to go!
The Magic of Modification
One of the excellent things about sangria is that it’s extremely customizable. By adapting the wine, the fruit, or the mix-ins, you can tailor a recipe to your exact tastes. If you’re not crazy about the fruits suggested, change it up! If you prefer a little effervescence, add it in! You know what you like; follow your own instincts and create something awesome.
I love the equilibrium of flavors in Magic Sangria – the mélange of sweet and bright, fruit and tang – but you may like a different nuance. Some find that a sprinkling of honey dust balances out the tartness of the lemon and adds an extra dimension of flavor. Some like to top off their cocktail with a splash of carbonated water for a bubbly treat. Some prefer a generous addition of white rum or vodka to add body to an otherwise light beverage.
There are so many ways to play with this delightful butterfly pea flower cocktail, and if you make it, we want to hear about it! Share your creations with us on social media, and tag us @plumdeluxe. Mix up a batch of Magic Sangria, and prepare to be enchanted.
Magic Sangria Butterfly Pea Flower Cocktail
- 1 bottle white wine of choice*
- 3 tablespoons Magic Butterfly Herbal Tea
- 1 lemon** quartered, preferably seeded
- 1 – 1 and 1/2 cups pineapple
- Honey dust, to taste (optional)
- Carbonated water, to taste (optional)
- Splash of white rum or vodka (optional)
Combine tea leaves, wine, and fruit in pitcher. Note: Tea leaves can be added loose to the wine or placed in a large infuser. Do not use a single-serving infuser, as the leaves will not have room to work their magic.
Refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight.
Strain and serve as-is, or add sweeteners, bubbles, or alcohol of choice before serving.
Enjoy your purple Magic Sangria!
*Sauvignon Blanc is a lovely choice if you’re not sure what type of wine you like.
**Organic lemons are preferable, since everything – including the rind – is steeped in the wine. If you don’t have organic lemons, be sure to give your citrus a good scrub before you add it to your mixture.