“Have you ever drunk sangria, Mrs. Fraser?”
I opened my mouth to say “Yes,” thought better of it, and said, “No, what is it?” Sangria had been a popular drink in the 1960s, and I had had it many times at faculty parties and hospital social events. But for now, I was sure that it was unknown in England and Scotland; Mrs. Fraser of Edinburgh would never have heard of sangria.
“A mixture of red wine and the juices of orange and lemon,” Lawrence Stern was explaining. “Mulled with spices, and served hot or cold, depending on the weather. A most comforting and healthful beverage, is it not, Fogden?”
Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 50 – I Meet a Priest)
Feeling a little bit of déjà vu?
If you were around OK near summer’s end, you probably caught my warm weather version of Mamacita’s Sangria. I promised then to return nearer the holidays with a mulled interpretation.
I’ve chosen some strange company to invite along for our Outlander Kitchen holiday celebrations this year. Last week we were eating Gougères with the Comte St. Germain, and now, once again, I’ve subjected us to Mamacita and her questionable hospitality.
That said, I think we’ve all been subject to at least one nasty glance from across the room at a holiday party in the past.
WHICH IS WHY I love the mellowing influence of the mulling spices in this recipe. As with all sangria, remember this is
laced fortified with liqueur, so be careful, lest you find yourself on a strange bed, covered in winter coats. (Most of you know what I’m talking about – don’t deny it.)
As it’s Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus, I took the opportunity to pull out all the stops; I chose Grand Marnier as my fortifier, and I also included a pear, my favourite winter fruit.
But since there’s not a lot of point in spending a mint on wine you are going to pour juice, sugar and more booze into, I chose a very moderately priced bold, fruity Argentinian wine that stood up nicely to its transformation: 2011 Cabernet/Malbec from Trivento Reserve.
And in case you’re wondering, those are Gingerbread Twigs, a recipe from Taking On Magazines — one of my favourite food blogs, written by Outlander fan Christiane.
Always remember that a recipe is a guideline, not a blueprint. Use what you have, and find inspiration in your pantry, rather than buying ingredients you may only use once.
For instance, when I couldn’t find the star anise I was sure I had, I used fennel seed instead to infuse some licorice flavour into my libation.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
: Warm the wames of those you love when you serve this cold-weather counterpart to Mama’s summertime refresher.
- Red Wine – 1 bottle (25 oz/750 ml)
- Brandy, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier – 2 oz (1/4 Cup)
- Orange Juice – 1 Cup
- Sugar – 2 to 4 Tble
- Cinnamon Stick – 1
- Whole Cloves – 1 tsp
- Whole Peppercorns – 1 tsp
- Whole Allspice – ½ tsp
- Whole Juniper – ½ tsp (optional)
- Fennel Seeds – 1/2 tsp (optional)
- Pear, cored & sliced – 1
- Mandarin Orange, sliced – 1
- Lemon, sliced – ½
- Lime, sliced – ½
Pour 2 cups of wine and the brandy into a pitcher. Add the sliced fruit. Set aside for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
Combine the remaining 1 cup of wine and the orange juice in a small saucepan. Add the sugar. Tie the mulling spices in a square of cheesecloth or enclose in a large tea ball and submerge in the wine and juice. Heat over medium-high until just boiling, then reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the spices from the pot and discard.
To serve hot: add the wine and brandy (not the fruit) to the pot and warm gently. Pour everything back over the fruit in the pitcher, stir and serve immediately, garnished with a cinnamon stick.
To serve at room temperature or chilled: pour the warmed wine and juice into the pitcher and stir well. Cool, then serve, adding ice or sparkling water if desired.