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Sometimes I can’t get enough melon and, other times, it’s just meh. But the colors of this summer sangria made my mouth water. And, there’s just something about melon in the summer. This time, I used two recipes for inspiration and adaptation. I followed the first recipe from Laylita (found HERE) a little more heavily. (The second recipe can be found HERE.)
Credit: Laylita and One Sweet Mess
- 3 cups melon pieces either cut into 1-2 inch chunks or balls (cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew)
- 2 Tbsp Agave Nectar (up to 4 Tbsp to taste)
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1/3 cup grappa
- 1 750mL bottle of Moscato wine, chilled
- 3 cups lemon-lime soda or club soda
- Slices of lime and/or frozen melon pieces for serving if desired
- Place melon pieces into a large pitcher with agave nectar, lime juice, and grappa. Stir gently and store in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours.
- Add wine and stir gently. Refrigerate another hour.
- Pour ½ cup of sangria concentrate into a glass and top with ½ cup club soda or lemon-lime soda.
I am not a wine expert or enthusiast. I like wine, I just don’t crave it the same way I do a glass of (alcoholic) cider. In any rate, I do not know a lot about Moscato (or Muscat) wine, but I have discovered that it comes in sparkling and non-sparkling (or still) varieties. I made the Summer Sangria with still Moscato, not realizing that it was a particular variety. The wine I used for this batch of Melon Sangria turned out to be semi-sparkling (who knew there was such a sort?), even though I specifically bought a bottle of Moscato that did NOT say sparkling.
There’s a point to all of this background info because, see, I messed up. In part, it was my fault for multi-tasking in the kitchen and not paying close attention to the directions. Of course, normally, you don’t want to add your effervescent ingredients too far ahead of time because they go flat, usually resulting in a dull tasting sangria – no matter if the effervescence comes from the wine or a soda. But, it is also typical to allow the fruit to steep in the wine for maximum flavor. With high hopes, I got my melon out, added the agave nectar, lime juice, grappa, and the Moscato. While pouring in the wine, I noticed bubbles. There weren’t a lot of bubbles – so, while it was not labeled as a sparkling variety, I am guessing it was semi-sparkling. As I gently stirred everything, and watched a few more tiny bubbles rise to the top, I cringed and prepared myself for a letdown. Sigh.
The next day, I went to make my glass of sangria. I opted to take a cue from the second recipe and topped the glass with some lemon-lime soda, figuring it would help perk up the sangria. It was DELICIOUS – and it didn’t taste flat. I even tasted the concentrate (without the soda) and that was really good too! Phew – relief – mixology disaster averted!
So, a couple words about the recipe. Sangrias typically have some sort of liqueur, such as brandy or triple sec – this adds to the flavor and increases the alcoholic content. This recipe uses grappa, which is an Italian grape liqueur. I happen to really like the use of grappa – it accentuates the flavor of the wine, without diminishing the flavor of the fruit. In fact, I found that it helped to balance the flavors nicely. For sweetness, I opted to use agave nectar instead of honey. I did this partially out of necessity since it’s what I had most of on hand. From previous use, I find the taste somewhere between honey and regular sugar – I thought it would complement the flavors in this sangria. I was very happy with the flavor and would definitely use again. You can certainly use honey or simple sugar…and add more or less to your liking. As for the soda, if you find the concentrate sweet enough, you may want to use a plain club soda or lemon flavored sparkling water (with less sugar). I found the lemon-lime soda to be perfect (I use diet soda) for my tastes. I highly recommend making this before summer’s end – cheers!