Food & Wine (June 2013)
Last Friday night, we had Zach's coworkers over for a cookout. We lucked out with the weather. It turned out to be one of those amazing days in DC -- we only get about five a year -- when the weather is just stunningly perfect.
The gorgeous evening meant that everybody could mingle in our backyard (which was a blessing, as our apartment would have been awfully cozy for Zach's whole office staff and their spouses).
Given the large group of people, we wanted to keep things super simple. We had barbecue delivered from Rockland's, and we asked the guests to bring a side dish or dessert, which worked out great. We made exactly two dishes: One was a refrigerator coleslaw (by which we mean we shredded a whole bunch of stuff in our fridge and mixed it all together with some vinegar).
The other thing we made was this Grilled Citrus and Grape Sangria.
The base of this sangria is great on its own. We love that it uses rosé wine instead of red. That keeps the sangria drier and lighter. (Although the brandy and simple syrup ensure that it's still plenty sweet.)
But let's talk about the grilled fruit. First off, we don't have a charcoal grill, which the recipe recommends. We don't know how much difference that makes, but we're sure the fruits we grilled on our gas grill didn't end up with the same level of smokey flavor that you'd get from charcoal. But we don't think it matters much. You're going to get a subtle smokiness in the fruit either way. And honestly, we don't think it dramatically affects the flavor of the sangria. With our fruit -- cooked on the grill -- we had trouble detecting much smokiness once it was soaked in the booze.
So the grilled fruit may be a bit of a parlor trick. But trust us -- it's a great parlor trick. Your guests will be wowed by the idea of a grilled sangria. If it doesn't change the flavor all that much, no matter. It looks very cool. And that's worth something.
We made a triple batch of this for our party, and it was still depleted early on. As everybody sat outside in the perfect night air and sipped this delicious sangria, we couldn't help but think, "It's gonna be an awesome summer."
Active: 20 min | Total: 1 hr 45 min
Servings: 6 to 8
INGREDIENTS3 cups stemmed seedless red grapes
2 oranges, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wheels
2 lemons, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wheels
Two 750-milliliter bottles rosé
8 ounces simple syrup (see Note)
8 ounces brandy
Light a hardwood charcoal fire. Put the grapes on a perforated grill sheet or in a grill basket and grill over high heat, tossing occasionally, until they just start to burst, about 6 minutes. Transfer the grapes to a plate to cool completely.
Meanwhile, grill the orange and lemon wheels over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool completely.
In a large pitcher, combine the wine with the simple syrup, brandy and grilled fruit and stir well. Refrigerate until the sangria is chilled and the flavors are blended, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Serve the sangria over ice.
To make simple syrup, combine equal amounts of sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and let cool completely. The simple syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 1 month.