By Rebecca Fending
Although it may seem far away, the first day of spring is actually March 20. What better way to help usher in the season than with a refreshing spring sangria made with locally crafted mead fermented from Mississippi honey?
Sangria originated in Spain, following the Roman path through the Iberian Peninsula, where they planted grapevines. Since the water was generally unsafe for human consumption during that time, it was common to fortify the water with alcohol and medicinal herbs to kill off any bacteria. This, of course, led to the invention of what we know as sangria—rich wine (originally mixed conservatively with water), herbs and fruit.
The cocktail’s name is a derivative of the Spanish word “sangre” (sanguis, in Latin), which means blood. The nomenclature stuck due to the drink’s color: a deep, vibrant red from the inexpensive table wine, from which it was crafted.
It is widely thought that sangria was introduced to America in the late 1800s. However, the first recorded appearance of sangria by name was at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, when the Pavilion of Spain served it to visitors from the Taberna Madrid kiosk. Since then, it has become an American favorite.
This lighter, green version of the classic beverage is everything you need to prepare yourself with spring. With the herbal flavors of fresh mint and basil mixed with the sweet and tart lemony goodness of Pucker Up from Queen’s Reward Meadery, you may need to make two batches!
1 bottle of “Pucker Up” from Queen’s Reward Meadery
1 lime, thinly sliced
½ English cucumber, sliced
1 cup honeydew melon, chopped
1 green apple, seeded and chopped
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh basil
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh mint
3/4 cup St. Germain liqueur
2 cups sparkling water, chilled
Mint sprigs for garnish
In a large pitcher, combine the fresh ingredients. Lightly muddle until some juice has been extracted.
Pour in the wine and St. Germain over the muddled ingredients. Stir and chill for at least one hour. Just before serving, top with sparkling water and stir.
Serve in a chilled glass and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, if desired.