The mint stands alone

I hope you had an excellent Fourth of July. I hope it was filled with sun and burgers and pickles and mojitos, and maybe even a swim in the bay. I also hope it got you ready to dive into summer full-gale, with a bang, because that's the sort of recipe I have to offer you today.

I want to talk about white sangria today, specifically about the recipe I clipped from last month's Gourmet, the one that spent an entire four weeks begging for a sunny day before I finally dug it out on Thursday. If that was the editors' idea of a joke—if they thought it was funny to taunt the entire northeast with their gorgeous-men-and-women-drinking-on-a-river spread for a whole four weeks while thunder, rain, and hail pounded down from the sky—well, ha. ha. I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor about these sorts of things, but that was simply not funny Gourmet

Happily, as of Friday at least, we have decided to move on. We are full-sun ahead, and we have some serious make-up work to do in the realm of beach fires and pond swims and Sunday barbeques. 

The hosting rules for any of these sorts of outdoor festivities—at least at my house—clearly state that they ought to involve a pitcher of sangria or two. And this white sangria—this white sangria is just the thing. It's actually more minted than white—with just fresh mint leaves and sugar and brandy and a bottle of dry white wine—and it goes down crisp and smooth with just a little hint of tang. It is a sort of cross between sangria and a mojito when you get down to it, and for a hot day in July, it is just the thing.

Originally, the recipe debuted in the July 1991 issue of the magazine as Minted White Sangria. The editors brought it back this summer with green grapes and green apples to jazz it up a bit, but between you and me, those new fruits didn't add much. They were just a lot of noise in comparision to the mint. I tried making it both ways when the sun came out Friday and I have decided to stand staunchly beside the mint-stands-alone 1991 version as my permanent pitcher of choice. 

Of course, now that the sun's out, there's plenty of time to try sangria any-old-which-way. You'll have to let me know what your favorite version is, so that we can give that a swing.


This is best served freezing cold from a pitcher and poured into mint julep cups over ice. If you don't have the silver cups, chilled glass beer mugs work well too. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh mint, or, for a lighter sangria, add a splash of soda water. 

adapted from Gourmet, July 1991

1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup sugar
1 750-ml. bottle dry white wine 
1/4 cup brandy

In a mixing bowl, combine the mint, sugar, and several tablespoons hot water. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved, using the spoon to muddle the mint. Add the brandy and the wine, stir well, and let the mixture chill for several hours. Strain the sangria into a pitcher just before you're ready to serve it, then pour it over ice into individual glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint. 


Anna said...

Excellent...Come home soon so we can make this in celebration of my ability to drink legally!

Anonymous said...

How funny - we celebrated the Fourth and the fireworks with a big pitcher of sangria. I still have a couple litres in the fridge, as it gave me such weird dreams I was scared to drink any more! This was a traditional red sangria - pinot noir, simple syrup, fresh juices of lime, lemon and orange, brandy (the weird dreams likker,) ginger ale and slices of peach, pineapple, orange, lemon and lime. Add ice. I got the recipe from July's Saveur magazine (you should definitely write for them!)
We were more impressed with their 'Longhorn Bullshot' - a vodka drink involving beef broth and Tabasco.
Love your blog-

Alison said...

Will have to try...I do love my mojitos and my sangrias and this sounds like a perfect combination of the two. Wasn't the weather on the 4th perfect? Now, if that fickle sun would just come out and stay out! Ugh. :)

Elspeth said...

Duly noted, Anna. Will be there asap.


Elspeth said...

Beth, that sangria sounds absolutely to-die-for. (Or maybe to-dream-for, as it is.) I will have to go scout out a copy and get my courage up!

Alison, it IS an exact perfect combination of the two. It's sort of like a mojito without the hard alcohol and hence without so much of the hangover worry if it goes down a bit too fast. And as for the weather, I think it needs a serious talking to.

All the best,


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