A Simple Syrup that will make your Sangria Unforgettable!

And, my friends, I introduce to you my buddy, Lou…. I asked him to share the following as the dude can COOK…. And code!

I present to you Sangria… Enjoy!

It appears that I have uncovered a delectable combination of ingredients that, when combined, form a most wonderful ambrosia.  I am not trying to take credit for re-inventing the delicious refreshment we know as sangria.  However, I am proposing to expound upon the significance of simple syrup and its role in the perfect sangria.  I can tell you that I have tasted many’s the sangria, some good, some bad, but hardly ever am I wowed!  A while back I was lamenting this fact with a good friend of mine (a fellow foodie) and she and I talked through the components of what makes a great sangria. We both unconditionally agreed that without a good simple syrup you cannot have a great sangria.  The reason is simple, the syrup is the vehicle by which undertones of dimensionality are added to the sangria.  It is not merely sugar and water, simple syrup has the lofty task of ferrying the perfumes and spices throughout the drink.  The sugar’s role is to help refrain the intensities that come with the rinds, fruits, and spices.  Also, its most famous role is that of a light sweetener which is signature to the sangria.  Now, without further adieus I will present my method for making the perfect simple syrup.

At a high level, the recipe is simple: 1. Water, 2. Sugar, 3. Fruit & Spice (aromatics & flavorings).  If we delve in a bit more we can break these ingredients down into ratios.  You always will start with 1 part water to 1 part granulated sugar.  The aromatics and flavorings will always be 1 1/2 times in volume to that of the water & sugar mixture.  As an example: 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 6 cups of fruits.  I want to warn you up front that when I make the syrup, I make a lot of it!  Turns out that the ambrosia is freeze-thaw stable which means I can make big batch and then freeze the rest.  The freezing part entails portioning out the syrup into 1 cup amounts.  A good zip-lock bag will do the trick for each portion.  Why 1 cup you say? Well, as you will see below 1 cup of the syrup is needed for the sangria recipe I will be sharing. Ingredients: 5 cups water 5 cups granulated sugar 2 Bananas (very ripe) 2 Lemons 2 Limes 1 Pineapple 2 Cinnamon sticks 2 Oranges Method: Add to a large pot the sugar and water, bring to a boil and continue to boil until temperature is just about 223 degrees F (sugar stage = thread). I like to cook the syrup a bit longer than normal because the fruit will release a great deal of liquid into the syrup when introduced.  Reaching this temperature will take  about 20 – 30 minutes, during that time you can prepare the fruit. The pineapple needs to be peeled, cored, and the cut into large pieces (along the lentgh).  The bananas need to be peeled and cut in half, again lengthwise.   The oranges, lemons, and limes can be cut into disks.  Figure (1) below shows the sugar and water coming up to temperature and next to it the prepared fruit.

Figure 1

When the syrup comes up to temperature put the fruit into the syrup, be very careful not to splash the hot syrup.  When you first put the fruit into the syrup it will not all be submerged due to the volume of fruit. Once all the fruit is in bring the syrup back to a boil then shut it down.  This may take 20 minutes or so, however once you finally shut it down you will see that the fruit has begun to shrink. See figure (2) below. Figure 2 At this point you simply put a lid on the pot, let it cool to room temperature then put it into the refrigerator for 12-15 hours. When you finally retrieve the pot from the refrigerator and open the lid you will be greeting by the most luscious aromas!  The task at hand now is to strain the liquid, for this I use a mesh strainer, a larger mixing bowl, and cheese clothe. Figure (3) below illustrates these items.

figure 3

From here on it is all quite easy. I unwrap the cheesechloth and place it over the mesh strainer.  I the gently pour the contents of my pot into the cheesclothe.  Figure (4) below show the goodies I just dumped.

Figure 4

I usually give the fruit a gentle push with a stainless steel spoon. This is to help get out some of that goodness hiding in the layers.  I don’t push too hard, I don’t want any of the bitterness of the pith making it way into the syrup.  This batch made about 1/2 gallon of syrup.   Each time you make it the color of the delicious syrup may differ than the last time. This is a function of what you add to the syrup. For this batch I had some clementines hanging around and they went into pot.  As a result the color of the syrup is a spice induced orange warmness 🙂  In the past I have used plums and the liquid turned out a shade of purple!  Figure (5) is the crowning achievement of my effort.

figure5

From this batch I managed to parsel out 8 8oz servings which I immediate put into the freezer.  Because of the high sugar content the freezer bags will not completely harden, they will be be pliable but somewhat stiff.

Now that you have been enabled to produce this glorious ambrosia I encourage you to do so.  You should experiment with the aromatics and spices.  Something I do around Christmas time is to make Christmas Sangria.  The syrup only needs one small addition to turn it into a Christmasy treat. Two or three cardarmon seeds coupled with the cinnamon sticks take the syrup to a whole other part of of town.

Now for the best sangria recipe ever to be laid to an e-recipe:

1 Cup of the syrup ambrosia
1 Cup of Cranberry Juice
1 Cup Freshly squeezed orange juice. It has to be fresh from the orange.
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Lemon sliced
1 Lime sliced
1 Orange halved, then halved,  then sliced
1 Red Delicious apple quartered then sliced.
1 750 ml bottle Pinot Noir

You will need a 1 gallon picture. First put in the cinnamon and wine, give it a gentle stir.
You then add the syrup and juices, again gently stir. Finally you add all the fruit and then refrigerate for 1-2 hours then serve.

2 Comments

  1. Kian says:

    Hi Lou – Thanks for the link buddy!. My wife loves sangria – we’ll give this a try once we settle down at a new house. Or move closer to you! 🙂

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