Julie Taras and Tasha Garcia make sangria at Manhattan's Little Giant year round as a tasty way to use up opened bottles of wine. In the fall and winter, they flavor dry red wine using a sugar syrup infused with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves and ginger before adding pieces of apple, pear or citrus. This recipe makes more sugar syrup than the sangria calls for; use it to sweeten hot or iced tea as well as sparkling water.
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2 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 star anise pods
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1-inch slice of fresh ginger
One 750-ml bottle dry red wine, such as Grenache, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup light rum
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 1/2 cups club soda
2 navel oranges—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into large dice
1 lime—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into large dice
1 Granny Smith apple—halved, cored and cut into large dice
1 Bartlett pear—halved, cored and cut into large dice
How to Make It
Step 1 MAKE THE SANGRIA
In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, star anise, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks and ginger. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil until reduced by one third and slightly syrupy, about 15 minutes. Let the spice syrup cool, then strain into a glass jar.
Step 2 MAKE THE SANGRIA
Pour the red wine into a 3-quart pitcher. Stir in the orange juice, rum, brandy, Cointreau, club soda and 1/4 cup of the spice syrup; add more syrup if you prefer a sweeter sangria. Add the diced oranges, lime, apple and pear and refrigerate overnight. Serve the sangria in tall glasses over ice. Garnish with a tablespoon of the diced fruit.
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