What better way to cool off after a day at the beach or working in the garden than a pitcher of ice cold sangria? Our friends at Russell Orchards Farm & Winery in Ipswich, Massachusetts have just the recipe, their Ginger Summer Sangria, a refreshing blend of summer fruits & citrus with a gingery zing sure to please even the most sophisticated palates. Made with “estate bottled” fruit wines produced on-site from the Russell Family’s own harvested crops, this sangria benefits by tasting all the more fruit-forward, lessening the need for lengthier fruit maceration times, additionally.
In addition to a wide assortment of commercially-made edibles such as artisanal salami and cheeses, Russell Orchards also sells their own home-made apple cider and “an insanely good and hot salty sandy beach day super-thirst-quenching” concoction know as Switchel or Haymaker’s Punch. Legend has it that Switchel (a beverage made of water mixed with vinegar, and often seasoned with ginger, honey, sugar, or maple syrup) was a traditional drink served to thirsty farmers at hay harvest time.
In operation as a family-owned working farm since 1920, Russell Orchards Farm & Winery holds wine tastings in a portion of their barn retail store space every Saturday & Sunday afternoon across their May-through-November annual season. Friday afternoon tastings are offered as well during summer months, and semi-private tastings with orchard-made foods can be arranged. Stay tuned to their website for daily updates on Pick Your Own fruits availability.
Because the following recipe (developed by the farm’s bakery manager Sarah) features upwards of sixty fluid ounces in total liquids, make certain the pitcher or vessels being used can accommodate same, or consider individually topping-off each poured glass of sangria base with effervescent ginger beer immediately before serving. Fresh mint and/or a citrus wheel make festive garnishes. See other sangria tips at end of recipe.
Sarah’s Ginger Summer Sangria
1 – 750ml bottle of any Russell Orchards Fruit Wine, such as Raspberry; Cherry; Blackberry; Strawberry; Raspberry-Peach; Strawberry-Rhubarb; etc. Choose your favorite, or try a different one in each pitcher made!
12.5oz white grape juice, such as Welch’s
6.25oz ginger liqueur/brandy, such as Domaine de Canton, or Jacquin’s, DeKuyper, or Leroux
2 oranges or tangerines, sliced
2 lemons or meyer lemons, sliced
2 limes, sliced
12.5oz ginger beer, such as Fever Tree, Regatta, Maine Root or Spindrift
Any combination of chopped, sliced and/or slightly muddled seasonal fresh fruit: raspberries; blackberries; pitted cherries; strawberries; peaches; nectarines; oranges; mango or pineapple. Optional: adding a few thick slices of peeled fresh ginger root, bias-cut into long coins, for easy retrieval pre-sipping.
Fresh mint, blackberries on toothpicks, or citrus wheels on glass rims for garnish
If sangria is to be consumed fairly entirely and quickly: Fill pitcher halfway with ice cubes & citrus slices (a few thin citrus wheels, facing out, lining pitcher sides and held in place by ice, looks nice if serving sangria directly from pitcher.) If easier than mixing all liquids inside the pitcher, the following may also be blended in a larger capacity bucket or bowl: Russell Orchards fruit wine of choice; white grape juice; and ginger liqueur or brandy. Add any fruits for gentle muddling, macerating and/or as poured-out garnish. Stir all to combine. Allow fruits to macerate, or consume immediately. Top-off with ginger beer (into pitcher if space allows, or glass-by-glass) immediately before serving to preserve any residual sparkling effervescence.
•Fresh fruits release juices most maximally when left in room temp liquids to macerate, even for as little as a thirty minutes, but may also be kept refrigerated. Either way, keep lidded or tightly covered with plastic wrap to prevent alcohol evaporation. Citrus fruits with bitter pith and rind, and any fresh ginger root used, should not be left to macerate for long periods of time, so as not to overwhelm. Milder, sweeter fruits may stay in for any length of time. Ginger slices may be lifted out if concoction is beginning to taste too ‘peppery’.
•Depending on the weather and ambient temps in or out of doors, keeping the ice cubes in individual glasses (versus inside the pitcher or serving vessel) may be the smarter move so as not to dilute the finished product. Keep pitcher of sangria in ‘frig, or keep blending new batches as needed. Previously macerated fruits can be recycled or may need some degree of replacing.
•Desired sweetness of sangria can be modulated by choice of grape juice and ginger beer used. If this is a concern, compare sugar quantities on product labels (but use artificially-sweetened fruit juice at your peril; icky flavors may result.)
•Non-alcoholic or kid-friendly sangria may be made by omitting the fruit wine and the ginger liqueur/brandy, utilizing cranberry juice or a fruit tea instead, and the spiciness of the ginger beer (which is non-alcoholic despite the name ‘beer’) may be mitigated by partial use of standard ginger ale, such as Schweppes, Canada Dry or Vernor’s. Resist going all-ginger ale, however; ginger beer adds a dimension of flavor critical to this sangria’s success.
•Fresh mint tips make great garnishes but must be kept refrigerated on-stem and in water to keep from wilting, which happens quickly. Blackberries speared end-to-end make a beautiful toothpick. Pineapple cores may be trimmed to glass size and used as the best-tasting swizzle stick ever.
Russell Orchards Farm & Winery is located at 143 Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA 01938; peak summer business hours are now at 7am to 7pm, open 7 days a week. A special thanks to Emily Matthews of Russell Orchards for compiling this content.