For an excellent summer refresher, perfect for a picnic or party this upcoming Labor Day, how about trying this recipe for sangria? Using in-season stone fruit, this recipe is the perfect way to celebrate (or mourn) the end of summer. Feel free to use whichever fruit you choose, but it is especially nice with fresh, ripe stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines, and/or plums. Mangoes, pluots, or cherries would also make a nice addition. I happened to use a white peach, a white nectarine, and a white pluot.
For the spirit, a peach or plum brandy works especially well (try a plum Palinka from Hungary), but any other brandy works fine too. Many white wine sangria recipes call for the addition of sugar and soda, but there is no need if you use a sweet sparkling wine. Sweet sparkling wines such as Asti, semi-seco Cava, demi-sec Champagne, or Prosecco work the best. The addition of peach nectar to the sangria is reminiscent of a Bellini, a cocktail of Prosecco and peach purée that was invented in the late 1930s at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. So, if like me you were unable to take a trip this summer, grab a glass of sangria and let your mind wander.
Sangria with Sparkling Wine and Stone Fruit
Tip: Prepare peach ice cubes ahead of time so that the sangria will not get diluted by regular ice cubes.
2 cups peach nectar
1 cup brandy
1 750-ml bottle of sparkling wine
peach nectar ice cubes (about 2 cups nectar)
Slice fruit into wedges and add to pitcher with brandy. Let macerate covered in the refrigerator for up to an hour. Add peach nectar and sparkling wine. Add ice cubes. Serve and enjoy. Yield: 2 quarts.