I was really bothered by my recent attempt at sangria sorbet. So disappointed with it that I threw it out.
But when I spied some strawberries on my neighbor’s counter, I grabbed them and promised to bring them back in a fun new form. I knew that redemption was mine. I decided to focus on the sangria experience instead of just making the sorbet. This time, I made good sangria and let it sit for a day in the fridge. Only when all the flavors had mixed did I even consider freezing this concoction. And while I waited, patiently this time, I recalled my first authentic sangria. In Spain. By the water. With a cool wind blowing around 10 pm as the sun was finally setting.
I was on my first trip to Spain – and was in Barcelona to be exact. I was taking the post-college graduation, not quite backpacking, trip through a few western European countries. Four weeks, four countries. And even though I was stubborn enough to pack everything into a backpack, I could not carry that monstrosity. So I had to buy a set of wheels to bungee cord my backpack to — it was never evenly balanced, I might add — and totter that thing from train station to hotel over cobblestones every few days.
Because, you see, the countries that I organized (and I use that term loosely since organizing involved choosing a city, a date, and a train; all our hotels except for 2 were booked on the fly) involved only one or two select cities. Here’s how I travel – I pick a home base and work from there. For that trip: England = London; France = Paris + Nice; Italy = Venice + Florence. Then a few day trips as desired. I admit, it was just a trip of highlights, but I needed to stay sane, and I knew I’d be back.
My travel companion and boyfriend, on the other hand, had never been out of the country (you can see why I added camembert as a litmus test) and he wanted Spain since he had studied Spanish in school. So Spain was his. And he was not good at prioritizing. In our 7 days 0f Spain, we went to Barcelona, Pamplona, San Sebastian (we had to follow Hemingway’s travels), Madrid, and Seville. By Seville, I was exhausted. And hot. And really sick of trains. And frustrated that I never knew what was going on around me.
But our first evening in Barcelona was amazing. I could still speak French and sort of be understood. We ate near the port and the cool breeze was welcome. Tapas was new and inviting and vegetarian options abounded. Most importantly, our introduction to real Spanish sangria was one made with “xampagne.” I remember strolling back from dinner along the wide boulevards, intoxicated by the bubbly sangria, the hints of Gaudí, and the anticipation of a week of exploring the complete unknown.
Looking back with a bit more perspective and without all that luggage and those horrible wheels, that week in Spain was a pretty great whirlwind and introduction to the diversity of the country. The architecture of Barcelona. An all-night party in Pamplona followed by sitting on a rickety wooden fence as the bulls torpedoed by. The train (bus? I can’t recall) to San Sebastián for a mini siesta by the water and to sleep off our prior evening, and then on to Mardid for a real bull fight. And finally arriving, travel weary, for a relaxing few days in the in the very hot, tapas-rich, flamenco stomping and twirling Sevilla.
And it started with that xampagne sangria.
Sangria Sorbet – MUCHO BETTER THIS TIME!
I still make this sorbet with leftover ingredients – wine and fruit – that I have in the kitchen (or that I’ve scavenged from my neighbor’s kitchen) rather than seeking out xampagne. The trick I found is making a sangria (slightly sweeter than you’d drink) and letting it sit for a good day.
Makes 4-6 servings
1 C strawberries – need not be beautiful, better to be a bit over-ripe actually
1 C dry red wine – I used a Cabernet
1.5 C 1:1 simple syrup (essentially a scant cup sugar dissolved in a scant cup boiling water)
2 shots orange liqueur (~1/4 C) – e.g., Cointreau; here I used Bartenura Mandarino because it was still Passover.
Rinse berries and remove any bad spots (mushy, etc.). Slice into small pieces – it doesn’t matter how you slice them because they will get pureed later.
Add orange zest and juice, including pulp. This will probably yield about 1/3 C juice.
Add wine, syrup, and liqueur and allow to sit at room temperature for several hours and then refrigerate overnight. The mix should taste a little bit sweeter than you would want for mere drinking (mere drinking? I’ll leave it to you decide if you can ever merely drink sangria…).
Freeze in sealed container. This mix froze solid for me overnight. Woohoo!
Remove from refrigerator for 30 minutes and then use immersion blender to puree berries and aerate sorbet.
This will help give the sorbet the desired consistency.
Return to freezer for a few more hours to re-freeze.
Serve with some extra orange liqueur.