Strawberry balsamic sangria is the answer to your sweltering summer sorrows. Summer is here in New York City, and it brought sangria weather with it this year. This is my second summer in NYC and it is even more scorching and sweat-inducing unlike the last. For some reason it seems hotter in Manhattan than it does in my hometown of Miami. Maybe it is the towering totems to big business, the hustle and bustle of the hoi polloi, or the stagnant air ripe with piles of rotting garbage that wafts on street corners and makes you yearn for the fresh air of the country side. You take your pick- New York is just hot and stinky in the summer.
Fear not though- with summer heat comes nature’s sweets. Some of the best fruit grows in the summer season. I am lucky to live close to the Union Square Farmer’s Market where all of the best local fruit is available direct from the farm. Straight-from-the-farm strawberries are unlike those in the super market. They are brighter, softer, sweeter, fresher, and their seeds are somehow sparse and less noticeable. Strawberries are one of my summer favorites and they are perfect for sangria- summer’s signature cocktail.
Sangria is the best summer drink for several reasons:
- Sangria can be made in advance for summer parties and barbecue
- Summer is berry season…I’m talking blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and black berries galore( oh and did I mentioned peaches, apricots, cherries, melons, plums, figs, and GUAVA!?!?)
- It is oh-so cold, sweet, versatile, ,refreshing and EASY
Strawberry Balsamic Sangria
- 3 cups sliced ripe strawberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 bottle Pinot Grigio, Soave, Riesling, or Gewurztraminer
- ¼ cup port or brandy
- ¼ cup aged Balsamic vinegar (sweeter than regular balsamic)
- Fresh lime juice
- Mint or basil to garnish
- 1 bottle sparkling rose or prosecco (I chose dry)
- ½ cup orange soda (optional)
Wash the strawberries well, remove stems, and slice. Let the strawberries macerate with sugar and aged balsamic vinegar for an hour. This brings out all the natural strawberry juice and sweetens more naturally. Pour in the bottle of wine and port (or brandy). Allow all of the ingredients to combine together in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve the strawberry balsamic sangria fill the rest of the pitcher up with sparkling rose or prosecco and stir. I added ½ a cup of orange soda and it really tasted great making me think grand marnier would be a great substitution for port or brandy. Another option is to prep individual glasses on trays to pass out to guests and then top off with the prosecco or sparkling rose right before serving for parties and entertaining. You can prep this the morning of any gathering or party, and I think you could technically do this a day in advance but I don’t like when the fruit is too soft.
Garnish the strawberry balsamic sangria with a lime wheel, strawberry, fresh mint, or basil- whatever you have on hand and enjoy!