Drink This Now: Sparkling and Spiced Citrus Sangria


[Photo: Elana Lepkowski]

When I think of citrus, my first thoughts are usually of summer: Lemonade, limeade, italian ices with the sun beating down on you. But citrus is really a winter fruit, and winter sangria is a wonderful way to highlight it.

This spin on a sangria marries citrus with a more common fruit seen around this time of year, the cranberry. (You may well have a bag stashed in the dark recesses of your fridge right now—this drink is a much better fate for them than another batch of cranberry sauce.) A little ginger shrub and black pepper help to round out the base of the drink. The result is a sweet, tart, and earthy concentrate that we'll cut with a dry, savory Spanish Cava.

Like many things around this time of year, this drink takes a little planning, but the results are worth it. You'll need to prepare the base of tangerines, kumquats, cranberry-black pepper syrup, ginger shrub and Pavan liqueur two full days in advance, and allow them that time to steep in your refrigerator.


What's Pavan? We hear that it's the name of a 16th century dance, which makes for a charming cocktail-party mention, but what's in the drink is a French liqueur made with muscat grapes and orange blossoms. While the liqueur adds some needed sweetness to the cocktail, it's Pavan's floral aroma that's really intoxicating. (If you really can't get Pavan, I'd replace it with a mixture of 3:1 simple syrup and orange blossom water.)

Once you've prepared and steeped the base recipe, you can then scale as you like! The base can be spooned into individual glasses for a party of two (or one; it's the holidays after all) and topped with the cava. Or, if you're sitting down to a holiday brunch, you can add the entire bottle, give it a stir and serve all your guests at once from a pitcher. The base is only going to get better as it sits, so if the week starts to get hectic and you forget about it, no need to fret.

About the Author: Elana Lepkowski is a Los Angeles based home-schooled mixologist who photographs and shares her cocktail recipes at StirAndStrain.com. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter as @elanabean where she sometimes forgets she needs a filter.