By Hairee Lee
A Wine Punch of Memories
The first really good rosé I had was through Michelle Mendes, a Portugese friend I met in teachers' college. She brought out a bottle of Mateus, a brand of medium-sweet frizzante rosé wine produced in Portugal, during one of our "let's drink and gripe about teachers' college" sessions. Super easy to drink, delicious, and just sweet enough, it was definitely a gateway drink for me. It's what encouraged me to try other rosés and then white wines and then reds. Not to get sloshed with but to actually taste and enjoy.
Later that year, we decided to do our 3rd and last practicum in France. The college told us we could do our last practical training anywhere so long as there was teaching involved. Stay and teach chemistry in some suburban high school or go to France? It was a tough decision.
I spent about a month in Dijon, while Michelle was out in butt-hole-nowhere Dole with weekend visits to Dijon, putzing around a lycée during the day and romping around town for the rest of it, which included a daily stop at a cafe to enjoy the popular drink called kir, a cocktail made of crème de cassis, a liqueur made from black currents and a Dijon specialty besides the eponymous mustard, and Champagne. Gorgeous drink. Michelle loved it too.
Once I started teaching in London a few month later, my first continental European trip was to Barcelona. And it was there that I had my lion's share of sangria. They have that stuff all year round--I was there in November and asking for sangria was not a problem--and made in large fresh batches pretty much wherever you go to eat. I was introduced to tapas and tapas means salt and salt means thirsty and thirsty means sangria. Logic has its place.
Everything about this cocktail reminds me of all the best things of that year--learning to enjoy wine rather than abuse it, visit Europe for the first time, start a legitimate career as a teacher, which was more impressive in theory than it practice, but never mind that.
This is my favorite cocktail so far and can't wait to make it at home this weekend, if only to have an excuse to buy a nice crème de cassis and revisit the beloved kir.
For this cocktail, we decided to add a cheese platter! Cheese being inextricably linked in my gustatory logic to wine. And this is a wine cocktail after all. To read more about it, go to Cocktail #5's Cheese Platter.
Berry Rosé Sangria Serves 6 to 8
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup crème de cassis
- 1 1/2 cups assorted berries such as blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries
- 1 (750-ml) bottle chilled dry rosé wine. We just picked up a middle-of-the-road dry rosé from Cambridge Wine & Spirits. Make sure it's dry. As Rod Lenzi, the wine consultant at the wine store explained, the sweetness from the sugar, crème de cassis, and berries will make the cocktail sweet enough without a sweet rose.
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- Set some aside to put into the cocktail just before serving. This way some of the berries soak up the wine cocktail while other look fresh for a nicer looking, but still tasty, drink.
- Put remaining berries into a heatproof pitcher. We used the large Simon Pearce Woodbury Pitcher. It's heatproof and clear and colorless so that it beautifully showcases the color and berries in the sangria.
- Bring sugar, water, and crème de cassis just to a simmer in a small saucepan, like the Mauviel MCook Stainless Steel Curved Splayed Saute Pan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Pour syrup into heatproof pitcher and let stand 5 minutes.
- Add wine and lemon juice and stir mixture well.
- Chill, covered, until ready to serve.
- Put remaining berries into the cocktail just before serving. We served our sangria in the Simon Pearce Barre Goblet with it's generous volume capacity that's perfect to fit all the berries bobbing up and down in the cocktail.
- Scoop out some of the berries into each glass.
Hope you love it as much as we did!
Recipe adapted from Epicurious. This website rocks.
Photographs by Nathan Brescia.