One of the goals on my 101 Things list is to complete a cook-through project, where I make every recipe in one of the cookbooks that I have. To keep this project manageable, instead of life-consuming or tedious, it only makes sense to choose one of the shorter, single-subject cookbooks. And while a creme brulee or grilled cheese blog project would probably be fun, I have chosen Sangria: Fun and Festive Recipes by Mittie Hellmich to do a drink-through.
- I’ll make all of the sangria recipes in the book, but not necessarily the tapas recipes at the end.
- I can make the recipes in any order I choose, but have to finish before the end of my 1001 days (May 2, 2011)
- I’ll try to follow the recipes exactly (recommended wine styles, etc), but may ignore optional ingredients or substitute ingredients, especially for the several sangrias I’ve made before (red jalepenos instead of bell peppers in the Spanish Harlem sangria, maybe…)
The first sangria I made as part of the project was Fig, Cherry, and Cognac Sangria. With the dark, rich flavors, this might be considered more of a wintery sangria, but we had the dried cherries and figs on hand from one of Chuck’s brewing projects, and it seemed like a good idea to use them up.
Cherry, Fig, and Cognac Sangria Recipe
One of the best things about sangria is that it’s super-easy to make – combine the wine and flavorings, chill for a few hours, then add some sparkling water and serve. By combining different kinds of wines, fruits, and other flavorings, the possibilities are almost endless. For most red-wine sangrias, the book recommends light-bodied red wines, particularly a Spanish Rioja Cosecha. (Cosecha refers to the vintage, and I think the book perhaps means crianza, which means aged for at least two years, instead, especially since the introduction contrasted the cosecha wines with the reserva wines, which are aged for at least three years). After much searching of the meager Spanish wine section of my local grocery stores, I found Campo Viejo Tempranillo, cosecha 2005, a rioja crianza (that should cover all my bases!) The wine was very dry and fairly light-bodied. I only had a small taste before adding it to the fruit, but would have been happy having a glass or two.
Step 1: slice figs and cherries; add warmed honey and cognac; stir to combine.
Fruit, Honey, Cognac
Step 2: add the wine; refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Adding wine to the fruit and cognac
Step 2: add chilled sparkling water, stir gently, and serve in pretty glasses. (optionally, strain seeds out before adding sparkling water; garnish with mint).
Cherry, Fig, and Cognac Sangria
The finished product was delicious – the dryness of the tempranillo was nicely offset by the sweetness from the cherries and figs, and the cognac added an oaky warmth. We paired this sangria with homemade roasted garlic-pepperoni pizza, then ate the wine-soaked cherries and figs for dessert.
This is a great sangria (it’s not the first time we’ve made this recipe), and I highly recommend it; to me, it matches well with tomato-based sauces because of the sweetness, and is more of a cooler-weather sangria because of the warmth added by the cognac – it’s kind of a “comfort sangria”. The richness of the figs and cherries also provide a sophistication to the flavor profile.