With daytime temperatures creeping towards the twenty degree mark and the end of the semester just around the corner, summer is letting us know that it will be here soon. While I’m not the biggest fan of the humid heat we get here in Ottawa, I do enjoy wearing sandals, not wearing a coat, and occasionally visiting a patio.
What screams summer to me, though, is fruit. Most of my family lives in St. Catharines, Ontario which is surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and greenhouses. When I used to visit my grandmother during the summer, she would put me to work helping her can peaches, cherries, tomatoes, or whatever was in season. Let me tell you, there is a world of difference between a fresh, ripe, local peach and a peach grown in another country, and picked before its prime. Every summer, I keep an eye out for the baskets of Niagara Freestone peaches in the grocery store.
Fresh peaches don’t last very long, though, so whenever I buy a basket I’m constantly trying to find ways to use them up (other than simply eating them out of hand, of course). Sangria is a nice way to use peaches or almost any kind of fruit; and it’s the perfect sipping beverage to have outside in the summer.
Sangria is generally a combination of wine, sparkling water and fruit and it allows for endless experimentation with flavours. You could also make it without the wine as a fancy fruit drink for kids or for a gathering. When I have company, I like to make a pitcher of ice water with cucumber slices and mint leaves in it.
In a pitcher, combine:
2 large or 3 small peaches, diced
Half a pink grapefruit, diced
3 or 4 large Basil leaves, bruised
1 bottle of fruity white wine
2 cups Club Soda
1 tray of ice cubes
Allow the pitcher to chill in the fridge for at least an hour (two would be better) to allow the flavours to combine.
I know it’s not peach season yet, but there are many kinds of fruit available that you could use: pears, plums, citrus fruits, dragon fruits or pineapples would all work well.