My friends Sue and George sampled a mind-altering sangria in Spain, and learned that the secret ingredient was a vanilla bean. I stole that idea, and blended pineapple juice with fresh pineapple to avoid adding sweetener. What brings these flavors and the wine together is Grand Marnier. Triple Sec just doesn’t cut it. This blend needs to sit for at least 24 hours for the flavors to mature. I’m gonna be bold and say that this is the best sangria I’ve ever tasted. But maybe I don’t get out much.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- 1½ cups (360 ml) unsweetened pineapple juice
- 2 cups (320 g) diced pineapple (or canned, in natural juice with no added sugar)
- 1 (750 ml) bottle Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet-Merlot blend
- ¼ cup (60 ml) brandy
- ¼ cup (60 ml) Grand Marnier
- 1 orange
- 1 ripe pear, cored and diced
- ½ vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise (seeds intact)
- 10 mint leaves (optional)
- 2 cups (250 g) ice, to serve (optional)
- Throw the pineapple juice and 1 cup (160 g) of the diced pineapple into your blender and puree on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until creamy. In a glass pitcher or punch bowl, combine the wine, brandy, and Grand Marnier. Stir the pineapple blend into the wine mixture (don’t be concerned about the frothiness; it settles).
- Cut the orange in half vertically, and then cut each half into 8 to 10 slices, discarding the ends. Add the orange slices, along with the remaining 1 cup (160 g) of diced pineapple, the pears, vanilla bean, and mint to the sangria. Stir to combine and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours, until the fruit flavors have infused the mix. Chill in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
- To serve, remove the vanilla bean and half of the orange slices (too much fruit can be overwhelming). If serving all the sangria at once, add all of the ice to the pitcher. Otherwise, drop ice into individual glasses.