Summertime cocktails: peach-basil-berry sangria with a special ingredient.

Peach-basil-berry sangria.

While this summer has been filled with rosé and vermouth, I couldn’t let it go completely by without making at least one sangria, no?

You know those weeks that all but guarantee to be intense and rough and you know you can get through them but it’s going to suck the entire time? Last week was like that for me, and I’m happy to report that I actually did make it through most of it not much worse for the wear. It helped that we had plans over the weekend to serve as a motivator to stay focused and as an incentive when the work was done, but in the meantime my intentions to post about this sangria had to take a backseat while I tackled the task at hand.

It feels more celebratory to post about it now, anyway–not only as we’re closer to the weekend, but also because this blog recently marked its sixth(!) birthday. I started tinkering with this a couple of weeks ago to bring to my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday dinner in Philadelphia at BlueCat. Since it’s a BYOB, I had the idea of bringing everything we would need to the restaurant and when I called to inquire they were more than gracious about offering to mix everything up for me, so that settled my plans. The real question was to figure out what she’d like and I quickly decided that a nice peachy sangria would do the trick nicely. When we usually go out for her and Michael’s birthdays I usually buy her a big glass of it while we wait for our table at the traditional birthday location.

The missing factor, though, was figuring out a good way to sweeten the sangria without relying on my old favorite St. Germain. I was trying to minimize the amount of liquor I was bringing because I didn’t want any leftovers, and I already had decided that the few shots of pisco brandy I had left would be OK to spike but not make the punch too strong. (A full night of bowling antics was in store, after all–it wouldn’t have been wise to get everyone lit before 8PM.) By pure happenstance on the day I wanted to make a test batch I saw a post by my friend Darya at Tortore in which she made a Russian drink starter/concentrate called mors. The idea is that you first strain as much pulp from your berries of choice into a bowl, and then use the remains along with some water and sugar and boil that together to create a sort of juice extraction, and then combine the two and use it as you might use a fruit puree in a cocktail or similar. When she posted about it my mind immediately started brainstorming all of the drink possibilities this preparation could afford, and shortly thereafter it dawned on me that I found my perfect mixer for this sangria recipe.

Though it was a little fruitier (and definitely redder!) than I normally make it, but I think it served its purpose nicely that night. Normally I would recommend only putting a quarter-cup of the mors per bottle of white wine, but that of course can be adjusted according to your personal preferences. The basil helps cut through the sweetness a bit and adds another layer of flavor without overwhelming the fruit–if you’ve never tried it in a sangria, you definitely should now.

Peach-Basil-Berry Sangria

Makes one pitcher

  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 3 peaches, pitted, halved, and sliced
  • 1 peach, pitted and peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 sprigs basil
  • 1/4 cup berry mors, using the berries of your choosing (I used a combination of blueberries and strawberries as that’s what I had on hand), plus more to taste if desired
  • 1/4 cup pisco brandy

Add the skinned peach and the basil to the pitcher you’ll be serving the sangria in and muddle them well. Add the white wine, berry mors, brandy, and fruit and stir well to combine; refrigerate for at least an hour (longer is better) to get it well-chilled. Add more berry mors to taste if desired before serving.

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7 comments
  1. You know I’ve never thought to add basil to the mix and brandy!!
    Bravo m’lady, bravo!
    Pretty cool too that you get to BYOB and they’ll mix it for you, hope bowling was awesome!
    I’m a lousy bowler. There’s just NO saving me, I stink.

    Coincidentally, I’m working from home today and after my 2:30 meeting, I poured me some leftover Sangria from last weekends BBQ.
    *sip sip, check email, sip sip*

    • Oh, I was HORRIBLE at the bowling. (Unfortunately my Wii skills did not transfer.) But it was still a lot of fun.

      And that sounds like a great way to keep perfectly good sangria from going to waste…

  2. Brianne said:

    Oh, God…I think you may have discovered the next shrub! Shrubs are everywhere this summer; mors will probably be the thing to mix into summer drinks a few years from now 😉 But since it’s such a great idea, it should probably get some mass recognition. How rad that you mixed it with sangria! So smart.

  3. Darya said:

    Oh lovely, I am so glad you made the mors, and what a great boozy and yet refreshing way of preparing it! Thank you for the shout out!

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