After a long day of working on my new header yesterday, I finally found a few moments to sit down and write my Cocktail Friday post. This week has been dreary and rainy in Tokyo, but we have not had the bad luck of many other places around the world with floods and typhoons, so I am not about to complain. My heart goes out to all of you that were impacted in the Philippines and Indonesia. For anyone interested in donating to the Red Cross for support, go to the American Red Cross website.
Needless to say, I felt like this week could use a little color to brighten things up and bring a little warmth and comfort. This sangria recipe is a perfect remedy for the cooler and sometimes gray weather that autumn brings. This is a variation of the recipe I made for the Birthday Party menu a couple weeks ago.
Instead of using Rose, I used Pinot Noir and I substituted the dried cranberries with fresh figs. These substitutions resulted in a full-bodied, complex sangria that hit the spot. The simple syrup included spices like cinnamon, star anise, and cloves with a little hint of heat from a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper. The spices make the entire kitchen smell like fall. I would consider making just for the purpose of making my apartment smell so good!
Some Sangria recipes run the risk of being a little too sweet or fruity, but this one has perfect balance and is unique in comparison with many other versions I have tried. So, on this first Cocktail Friday of October, I hope you will consider trying this versatile Sangria recipe! Enjoy!
Sangria with Nashi and Figs
Makes 6 servings
1/2 pound fresh figs
1 large nashi or other pear variety
1 bottle Pinot Noir or Rose
1/3 cup Cointreau
1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe adapted from Food & Wine.com):
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (it is very important to use a small amount of this!)
To make the simple syrup, combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Allow the syrup to simmer for 20 minutes over low/medium heat. Strain the syrup into a large bowl.
In the same large bowl, while the syrup is still hot, combine the fruit with the syrup. Stir to coat the fruit, then cover and keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours.
Combine the fruit, wine and Cointreau in a large glass pitcher or punch bowl. Stir to combine and add ice (I like to add a small amount of ice at first and allow guests to add more ice to their glasses as needed- otherwise the sangria gets too watered down.) Garnish with cinnamon sticks before serving.