I’m in a wine dinner group that meets monthly. The host picks the theme and makes the main course and each guest couple signs up for a different course, along the same theme. Sometimes it’s based on one kind of wine, but usually it’s geographic.
Everyone in the group loves to cook and does it well so we have some stellar dinners. Recently it was our turn to host, and I picked Spain as our wine region.
Once again, every single course was exceptional. In fact, over the next few weeks, I’m going to share several of the recipes we enjoyed.
Our first course appetizer was served with white sangria made by Commercial Appeal Food Editor, Jennifer Biggs. It was, with no competition, the best white sangria I’ve ever had (and with my age and travels, I’ve had a few). And it looked absolutely beautiful in the clear glass pitcher, with berries on the bottom, citrus slices and fresh mint.
The secret ingredient was one we all had a little trouble identifying: fresh tarragon. Who would have thought? It was subtle but made all the difference in the flavor. Don’t be tempted to leave it out.
You can make your infused lemonade ahead of time and chill all the components to be assembled when you’re ready to serve it. Have an iced tea spoon ready so you can scoop out a blackberry or two for each glass, pour, and enjoy!
JENNIFER’S WHITE SANGRIA
16 oz good lemonade (see note)
1 handful fresh mint
1/2 handful fresh tarragon
1 750ml bottle dry white wine
8 oz. grapefruit soda (see note)
1 cup Cointreau or triple sec
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
Blackberries or other berries
Handful of mint sprigs for garnish
Bring the lemonade to a boil and add the mint and tarragon. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse at least 15 minutes. Discard the herbs and allow the syrup to cool. Put the wine in a pitcher, then add the herbed lemonade, grapefruit soda and Cointreau. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
To serve, place fruit, berries and mint garnish in the serving pitcher, add ice, and pour in the sangria. Add more grapefruit soda or Sprite if you want a bit of fizz. Makes 8 to 10 five-ounce servings.
NOTE: Jennifer used a bottled not-from-concentrate lemonade available in the juice section of the supermarket. For the grapefruit soda she used Ting, available from the Winchester Road Farmers Market, or in the international aisle of some supermarkets. Fresca or Squirt would also work, but would be less sharp.