First off, I just got back from an amazing weekend in San Francisco slash Napa and so I most definitely have wine on the brain. (I’m currently prepping photos to share with you guys… it was such a fantastic time). It’s also my birthday on Friday, so naturally we need to be celebrating that all week long. (Yes I’m channeling my inner 5- year-old). And Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching so… you know… Spicy Citrus Sangria should simply be something we all have in our lives.There is this little charming restaurant called Cueva Bar in San Diego that Dave and I love to head over to when we are craving some Spanish apps and drinks. The menu is great and I’m sure I will at some point create a food recipe based on one of their dishes, but the stand-out item that I return to again and again is their spicy sangria drink.
(Aka, after going to their restaurant, I’m not sure I ever really want to have sangria sans spicy ever again).
And it is most certainly the inspiration behind this recipe.My recipe is not outrageously spicy as I prefer just a subtle zing, but if you are a spice-a-holic, feel free to adjust the quantity of chiles to your satisfaction. My recipe is bright, citrusy, boozy, and leaves your palate tingling with a subtle heat, sip after sip.
The technique here is to create a simple syrup that is infused with chiles to season the sangria. I used 8 dried chiles de arbol that I heated with 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar on the stove. (I think you should also be able to attempt this with fresh chiles (i.e. jalepenos or serranos) if you don’t have access to dried chiles, but I haven’t officially tried this method so let me know if you try it).The simple syrup will turn a reddish color when it is ready to use. You certainly could add more or less of the chiles to taste, and also the longer you infuse the spicier it will be. Just bear in mind that the simple syrup itself will taste quite spicy alone, but once it is diluted in the cocktail it will mellow out and be more subtle in the finished beverage.
Spicy Citrus Sangria
- 1 bottle dry red wine I used a Pinot Noir
- ½ cup triple sec
- ½ cup brandy
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 8 dried chiles de arbol stems removed
- Sliced citrus fruit- I used 1 orange 1 lemon, and 1 lime
- In a pitcher combine red wine, triple sec, brandy, lemon juice, and orange juice. Stir well to combine.
- In a small saucepan combine sugar, water, and chiles. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat and then turn heat down to low. Let the chiles infuse the simple syrup for 10-15 minutes (longer if you prefer spicier!)
- Strain chile syrup by pouring mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the sangria pitcher.
- Stir mixture to combine and add sliced fruit, as desired.
- Chill before serving.