In its simplest form, sangria is red or white wine poured over perfectly ripe fruit and left alone to allow the flavors to mingle. Served over ice, it is a flavorsome and refreshing drink. With a bit of tea leaf ingenuity, you can transform this chilled summer favorite into a spicy beverage that can stand on its own beside its cold weather cousin, mulled wine.
Imagine a luscious white wine sangria studded with fragrant white peaches and infused with ginger tea. Or a rich red wine infused with chai and poured over juicy plums.
The process is simple: steep your chosen tea in wine, either white or red, then strain and pour it over ripe fruit to macerate. You can do this via one of two methods: fast or slow.
- The fast way is to bring a cup of wine to a simmer, add the tea, and let steep for 3-5 minutes to the strength you prefer. Strain and chill infused wine, then add it to the remaining wine and pour over the fruit you've prepared.
- The slow method is to treat the wine like a sun tea. Place the tea in a large, lidded jar, pour the wine over, and seal. Place in a sunny, warm location if possible -- or the fridge -- and leave to steep 24-48 hours. Strain, pour over fruit, and steep a little longer before serving.
Christmas is the ideal time for citrus fruits, so take advantage of the bounty by making an Orange Spice Sangria. Infuse red wine with Moment of Delight tea, a rooibos blend with orange peel, hibiscus, rose hips, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves. While it steeps, slice blood oranges, mandarin oranges, and naval oranges into a large pitcher. Pour over strained wine and chill overnight or until ready to serve.
If you're craving a bit of summer in the middle of winter, make a stone fruit or berry based sangria with white wine given a tropical twist with After Dinner (Party) Blend, a white tea fragrant with ginger root, lemongrass, pineapple cloves, coconut, cardamom, apple pieces, and red peppercorn.
Celebrate the quintessential fruit of Christmas with a Cranberry Sangria infused with the smooth, flowery taste of Reading Nook Blend, a cream black tea studded with rosebuds, passionflowers, lavender, and chamomile. Use a sweet white wine for this one to balance the tartness of the berries, and allow the cranberries to turn it a delicate pink. Infuse the wine with the tea and pour over fresh cranberries, lightly crushed, and chill at least twelve hours.
Experiment further with pears, apples, and tropical fruits such as mangoes, papaya, and passionfruit, and find the tea, wine, and fruit blend that makes your holiday party sparkle.
Photo Credits: manray3, Plum Deluxe, and Lionel Allorge.