I don’t think I could have come up with a dumber name for my entry at last weekend’s Sangria Fest in North Park. Fortunately, I also don’t think I could have come up with a better white sangria for the party — and I’m especially fortunate that the judges thought it was pretty good too.
It was good enough to net me a plastic trophy; more importantly, it was good enough that a bunch of you asked me how I made it. Here you go:
The hard part.
This was the inspiration for my sangria, and while it’s not actually all that hard, it does take a little time.
Many years ago, a friend of mine in Columbus turned me on to a great summertime tradition — filling a jug with vodka and pineapple chunks, letting it stew in the fridge for a while and occasionally pouring some over ice to help with summertime relaxation efforts.
I’ve done it a few times, and I’ve found that I like rum in place of the vodka even better. And when we heard about Sangria Fest, I knew this would be the key to whatever it was I was going to make.
Again — a difficulty factor of about 2: Core and cut up a pineapple, dump the chunks in a good-sized jug or a jar and pour on the rum — I used Bacardi white — until the pineapple is covered. Don’t touch it for a couple days; after that, if you take a sample or two, be sure to add just enough additional rum to make sure the pineapple stays covered.
I think this is important: the rum I used for the sangria soaked with the pineapple for about a month. You could use pineapple-flavored rum, but you’re going to miss the sweet that you get with the little pieces of pineapple floating in the home-infused stuff.
The basic proportions for my recipe came from here, but there’s a bunch of stuff I tweaked. Here’s how it went:
- I used a bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio (cheap but flavorful).
- I used the juice of two oranges (Valencias, specifically) and two lemons, instead of the singles called for in the recipe. Also, I used the juice only — the rinds never made it into the pitcher.
- I cored and chopped another fresh pineapple and put all the chunks in the pitcher. I could have used the pineapple from the rum, but after a month, they were really boozy, and that would have taken away from the flavor I was looking for.
- I made my test batch without the coconut rum, and it wasn’t as good; I think you really need that extra flavor in the background. Probably important: I used low-test (20 proof) coconut rum; I wanted flavor, not alcohol heat.
- I used way more booze that the recipe calls for. The nice folks at about.com seem to think three shots of coconut rum is enough; I went with a little more than a cup of coconut rum and a little more than a cup of the pineapple infused rum.
- I used absolutely no sugar. The pineapple rum and the orange juice is sweet enough. If you let the citrus rinds soak in the sangria, a little extra sweetener might be necessary, though.
- To be honest, I’m not sure how much ginger ale I added. Pour until you can barely taste it.
- Stir it up and keep it cold. I liked it served over ice and if I had remembered to bring some fresh mint, I think that would have been a tasty garnish.
There you go. If you told me you liked it — and I really appreciate everyone who said so — you have plenty of time to give it a try for yourself this summer.
And if you come up with a better name, go for it. Please.