When my mother was visiting us last March, the three of us (myself, Mom and an old friend of mine) made a trip to Total Wine to spend a gift card that my mother had given an old friend of mine as a belated Christmas present.
So while he went off to pick through all his favorite wines my mother and I browsed around and busied ourselves by checking out all the mini liquor bottles.
This was the same shopping trip where I picked up ingredients to make Mango Cointreau Sangria and also when we purchased our first bottle of Sambuca (which eventually lead to these Cherry Blossom Cocktails).
And, finally, there another purchase we couldn’t leave the store without: our first bottle of Absinthe.
Now, I had never even heard of Absinthe until that day – or, at least, had never known that all the “green fairy” references were about Absinthe. But apparently an old friend of mine and one of our neighbors had talked about Absinthe recently and now he was determined to buy a bottle. I was a bit dubious at first, but he sold me on the whole “you pour Absinthe over a sugar cube” spiel. Because, sugar. I’m always game for sugar.
We’ve since tried the fabled Absinthe and, sadly, I was a tad disappointed. An old friend of mine did a ton of research on the “proper” way to drink Absinthe and apparently you’re supposed to mix it with a decent amount of water. So we had our neighbor over, made our Absinthe + water + sugar drinks, and I proceeded to sip Absinthe while cooking some chili (which just happened to be this recipe).
I didn’t think the Absinthe was bad by any means, just that it taste… well, watered down.
Wasn’t really my thing.
So the bottle of Absinthe has stayed on our drink shelf, alone and forgotten, until last week when I was browsing through Sangria Recipes by Lisa Shea and noticed she had Absinthe listed in the recipe index. I was immediately intrigued, so I flipped to the first recipe in her book and stumbled upon this beauty: Blackbeard Berry Sangria. I’m not quite sure what the relationship is between Blackbeard the pirate and Absinthe, but hey, the ingredient list alone was more than enough reason for me to try whipping it up.
I did make a few changes from the recipe from how it’s printed in the recipe book, though.
The original calls for blackberry liqueur, but when I couldn’t find it (seriously, there was every other type of berry liqueur except blackberry) I used blackberry rum instead.
I also opted to use one of my favorite wines (Stella Rosa Red) and I couldn’t help but add some strawberries to the mix.
And as for how this Sangria turned out: according to an old friend of mine it “tastes like Kool-Aid”, which I’ve learned is just his way of saying that 1) it’s really good and 2) it’s sweet enough to be a proper sangria.
So I’d say this drink a success and, even better, it’s a newfound way to widdle away at our bottle of Absinthe.
Be sure to check out Sangria Recipes by Lisa Shea for more great drinks!
Blackbeard Berry Sangria
Note: If using Stella Rosa Red or Stella Rosa Black, both of these wines have a hint of fizz, so it's best to mix this drink close to the time it will be served.
Add blackberries, strawberries (whole or cut), blackberry rum, Absinthe, and 1 bottle of red wine into a large pitcher. Taste test for flavor - given the Absinthe, you may want to add a hint of sugar (1-2 tablespoons max). Give the sangria a quick stir to mix all the ingredients. For best results, cover pitcher and let chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Serve immediately with additional fruit as garnish, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Sangria Recipes by Lisa Shea.