This winter fruit combo was our Christmas sangria, paired with baby back ribs in a coffee-barbecue sauce.
It was the first time I’d ever had a persimmon, so that was the exotic part of this sangria – I got two Fuya persimmons, orange fruits that look like firm tomatoes with leafy tops.
Liberating the pomegranite seeds was the most time-consuming part of the sangria. Last time I had a pomegranate, I followed the recommendation from The Joy of Cooking to soak the pomegranate pieces in water and let the seeds separate from the skin and the little white connective pieces float to the top. This time, I just cut the fruit into sections and plucked out the seeds, and I think it was actually faster and less messy – only a few drops of scarlet juice found their way onto the floor!
The recipe said that the persimmons should be peeled, seeded, and quartered; but when I cut my first persimmon open, I found that it had more of a core than a seed, and when I checked Joy of Cooking for more info I learned that Fuya persimmons don’t need to be peeled unless the peel is bitter-tasting, so I tasted my persimmon (mildly sweet, like a slightly astringent pear) and decided to just core and slice them before adding to the sangria.
I mixed the fruit together, trying to crush some of the pomegranate seeds so they added more flavor to the sangria, then added the Triple Sec (the recipe called for Mandarine Napoleon, which is apparently a Grand Marnier-like tangerine liquor, but I went with a more basic liquor) and the red wine, a very dry Spanish red that I found in the organic wine section at Trader Joe’s.
When it was time to serve, I added the sparkling water and piled each glass with tangerine slices and pomegranate seeds. This was a really good sangria, and paired well with our barbecue ribs. It was dark and dry, with the tangerine flavor coming through to add perfume, and combining with the pomegranates to bring a hint of sweetness to the drink.
I’m not sure if the persimmons added much flavor to the sangria – maybe my persimmons were poor examples of the fruit, or just not ripe enough, but I felt like the sangria would be just as good without them.