Graduation Champagne Sangria

High school graduation is around the corner for us, and it seemed like a good idea to plan a way to soften the blow for Sir Wes.  His daughter will be walking the stage to receive her diploma and officially into the real world!  An exciting time for all, but also one that will smack Wes in the face with where did the time go!

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Take a sip Wes!

Champagne Sangria

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves plus mint sprigs for garnish
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cranberries, strawberries, blueberries or your choice of fruit
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 chilled 750-ml. bottle Champagne or sparking wine

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Preparation

Mint Simple Syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and mint over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the berries of your choice (we don’t want to “kill” the berries with heat, but also want to get the flavor in there too) and remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for 20 minutes. Pull out the mint leaves before using.

Pour the mint simple syrup into a large pitcher.  Stir in the wine and the brandy and chill the sangria, covered, for 1 hour.  Pour the sangria into tall glasses filled with ice cubes and garnish each drink with mint sprig.

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His little girl is growing up!  As much as we know she will soar, ….his little girl is growing up.  Be proud Sir Wes!!

Ginger and Ghost Pepper Peach Sangria

Summer started today,  although here in Florida, summer feels like it starts much earlier!  What is even more fun about June 21st, is that it is the unofficial start date of sangria season!  The perfect answer to the humid, sweaty days of Florida summers!  My favorite girl, @sweetsbymaggie is here for the week, and we love to enjoy sangria together, it is just what we do 🙂

A friend gave me a bit of homemade ghost pepper honey a few weeks ago, which is the hottest pepper out there blended into honey.  I also had a bit of ginger left in the cooler, so I made a ginger simple syrup to use it up before it spoiled.  I saw a bottle of white wine on the pantry shelf and I knew what direction we were heading. It is so fun to play with sangria flavors, once you have the general idea of how to make a traditional white or red sangria, I highly recommend getting creative with the flavors.  I love muddling herbs in ours, basil and cilantro are great.

Here is the recipe I used, it made about 5 quarts and took me about 20 minutes to do.  We left it overnight and the next day it was nicely blended, all of the flavors had time to hang out together and bond 🙂

Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger

Put all ingredients into a heavy sauce pan and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. and cool.  The flavor will develop as it sits, so don’t be afraid to let it rest before you use it.

Simmer down Ginger!!!!!

Ghost Pepper Honey

  • 1 pinch ghost pepper flakes*
  • 3 teaspoons honey

Mix pepper flakes and honey together well, the longer the honey has to sit the stronger the heat will get.  A perfect item to have in your cabinet.

*You can use any pepper here, dry them slowly in the oven and then put in a coffee grinder to grind, you could even red pepper flakes if you would prefer.

Ginger and Ghost Pepper Peach Sangria

  • 2- 12 oz cans peach nectar
  • 1.5 liter Pinot grigio
  • 1 cup peach schnapps
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 2 peaches, cut in small bites 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries, muddled
  • 3 teaspoons ghost pepper honey
  • 2 cups ginger simple syrup

Sangria Fruit

Mix all ingredients together in pitchers (I used two which allowed room for stirring, and just split everything in half, for each pitcher).  Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.  If you let it sit longer then 12 hours check that the peaches haven’t been “overcooked”, they can become rancid over time.

Ginger and Ghost Pepper Honey Peach Sangria

Sangria all around…Sangria BBQ, Blueberry Basil Sangria…..Hello Summer!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sangria season to me is like pool season to a kid.  I just can’t wait for sangria season to start, and on Monday it officially does!!!  Memorial Day thru Labor Day, the short season of sangria.  During this time we reinvent the tradional recipe over and over, cocktails, dips, sauces, spreads-

What I had in the pantry

Today I made Sangria BBQ  Sauce, perfect to cook on the grill (if you have room to spare, or a fancy grill with a burner attached).  We will use this sauce on BBQ Chicken, Pork Tenderlions, Flat Breads, Pulled Pork, Ribs- anything that the Bull’s Eye BBQ might have made it on.

BBQ Sangria

1/4 Cup Ketchup

1/4 Cup Orange Juice

1/4 Red Wine

1 Gala Apple, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces

1 Navel Orange, zest first and set aside for later use, peel and seperate segments, double check for seeds

1 Lemon, zest first and set aside for later use, squeeze juice being careful of seeds

1/4 Teaspoon Smoked Salt

Put all in a pot and slowly simmer until fruit is tender, broken down.  Depending on the legnth of time you have, the apples will break down by themselves, or you can puree the sauce in a blender.

Starting off

Simmer down Chef

I’ll save the zests and make a gremolata or add them to a light salad …no way they will be around for long!

Sweet Summer Goodness- Sangria BBQ Sauce

Happy Memorial Day and God Bless our Soldiers!