Sangria isn’t just for summer. With red wine as its base, wintry spices and in-season citrus can transform this drink into an ideal cold-weather sipper.
In this recipe, that formula translates into fizzy Lambrusco, sweetened with a chai tea-based syrup that offers cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and clove flavor, and brightened with lemon and orange. While many sangrias are fortified with brandy or other brown spirits, this uses vodka to play up Lambrusco’s ruby hue. You can always substitute your favorite brandy or Bourbon, though the flavor will be a bit richer and the color deeper.
Gonzo 365 Sangria
Courtesy Tim Cooper, beverage consultant, New York City
Why call this a “365” Sangria? Because it can be adapted year-round. During the winter that means emphasizing citrus, which is at its juiciest and sweetest late in the year. This cold-weather sangria can also be a festive treat during the holidays, switching up the garnish to a red-and-green combo of cranberries and fresh herbs.
- 1½ ounces dry Lambrusco
- 1½ ounces vodka
- ¾ ounce Bengali tea syrup (recipe below)
- ¾ ounce lemon juice
- Orange half-wheel, for garnish
- Mint sprig, for garnish
In cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients (except garnishes) with ice. Shake well, and strain into large wine glass over fresh ice. Garnish with orange wheel and mint sprig.
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon whole cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 slices fresh ginger, ¼-inch thick
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
In saucepan, add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and water, and bring to boil. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Add teabag, and remove pan from heat. Allow to cool, then remove solids by straining. Refrigerated, syrup will keep up to 2 weeks. Use leftover syrup to sweeten coffee, tea or cocktails.
Alternatively, 1 teabag Bengal spice tea can be substituted for first four ingredients.