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The next instalment in our Holiday Cocktail Series is a winter sangria. XOXO Wines Pinot Grigio Chardonnay was the perfect base for this crisp holiday cocktail! Read along for all the delicious details.
HOW is it that we are in December already?! Time seriously flies and even more so at this time of year. It’s so easy to fill our days any month of the year but, come December, you can add to your daily routine the tasks of preparing for the Holidays and also trying to soak up all of the fun and traditions that happen at this time of year.
As you know, one of my favourite things about the Christmas season is hosting friends and family and all of the festive recipes and cocktails that go along with that. If you’re an entertainer like me (or if you just like to curl up at night with a festive drink!), I have another delicious holiday drink to add to your roster! I am so excited about today’s cocktail and it fits perfectly into our Holiday Cocktail Series collection thus far. We started out chocolatey with the Peppermint Mocha, last week we spiced things up with the Chai Toddy, and this week we are settling down with something a little fruity. It’s a summer classic with a holiday twist! This Winter Sangria made with XOXO Pinot Grigio + Chardonnay is a definite sweet festive treat.
Sangria is such a classic summer drink. Just the word stirs up fun memories of warm evenings on the back patio with girlfriends. As much as I love enjoying seasonal drinks in their appropriate seasons, I couldn’t help but think of all my favourite winter flavours and how well they would pair into a sangria too. A drink that instead of drawing visions of patio hangouts would bring up nostalgic feelings of fun Holiday parties, twinkly lights and evergreen boughs, and softly falling snow outside. A crisp white wine was just the place to start. This sangria is a definite holiday party drink – one that I can picture sipping by the Christmas tree with my besties.
This XOXO Pinot Grigio + Chardonnay blend was the perfect base for a winter sangria. Earlier this year I used the XOXO Pinot Grigio + Chardonnay sparkling wine to make the loveliest peach mimosa so I thought that the non-sparkling version of this wine just might be right for a sangria. It is light, crisp, and dry. When making a sangria, since the intention is to add in fruits and juice, you don’t want to start out with anything too sweet as your base. Something like this blend which is slightly dry is just right. Further to this wine fitting the bill as the perfect sangria base, XOXO is part of Andrew Peller Ltd. brands and, growing up right in the Niagara wine Region, I had to give this wine a try for this recipe! It’s a match!
Well, just the same way you make a summer sangria! It all comes down to the fruit and flavour pairings. In the summer I gravitate toward true summer fruits…things like strawberries and raspberries; peaches and watermelon. But what fruits and flavours make you think of the holidays? For me it’s fruits like oranges, golden pears, pomegranates, and cranberries; fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme; and spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and anise. As much as I love ALL of those flavours, they don’t all necessarily love each other! With my master list of ‘warm winter flavours’ above, I chose the ones that I thought would compliment each other well and, more importantly, would compliment the crisp fruity tasting notes of the XOXO Pinot Grigio + Chardonnay. Are you ready? Here’s what we came up with…the winter sangria!
To make your sangria, simply combine all the ingredients above into a pitcher and stir. Sangria is all about letting the fruit absorb the flavours of the wine and vice versa. Allowing your sangria to sit and mix is key and anywhere from 3 hours to 12 hours is ideal. While making up this recipe I tasted it every so often to see how it was tasting and the taste difference from when you first combine the fruit to a few hours later is definitely noticeable!
If you’re feeling fancy (I sure was :)), you can serve your sangria with a garnish. I love the look of sugar frosted cranberries and they totally suited this drink. To make sugar frosted cranberries, combine 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a sauce pan and allow to simmer. Add in 1 cup of cranberries and stir them continuously to coat them in the sugary syrup. Only allow them to be on the heat for about 2 minutes…any longer and they will turn into cranberry sauce! Remove the cranberries from the syrup and allow them to dry. Once dry, coat them in a bowl of white sugar. Stick a few cranberries on a skewer or tooth pick to garnish your drink. Ta da! So simple and so so pretty.
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