Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Summer entertaining should be simple, easy, and low stress. It’s just too hot to be mixing individual cocktails, so summer calls for a big batch of something delicious and refreshing that guests can help themselves and sip on as the sun drops lower in the sky. Rosé has become synonymous with summer afternoons and earlier in the season I had the pleasure of creating a recipe for a rosé tasting event at Maman, my favorite café in New York. Talk about a dream come true!

I was only recently introduced to Lillet Rosé by my lovely friends Josie & David, and afterward couldn’t believe I had gone so long without having it in my life. It makes a super simple aperitif – just add a sizable cube of ice and a slice of something citrusy.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Or, take it one step further and transform it into a twist on sangria. Traditionally sangria combines wine with a liqueur or brandy, but since Lillet is already a fortified wine in my variation you get to skip that step. Score. Maman’s Provencal influence provided the inspiration to enhance the flavor by adding lavender and stone fruit. It fits the low-stress bill, and has the added benefit of being even better when it’s made in advance.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria (serves 4)

1 bottle (750 ml) Lillet Rosé
3/4 teaspoon (3-4 sprigs) dried culinary lavender buds
1 ripe black plum
1 ripe white nectarine
2 ripe apricots
1 medium lemon
1/4 cup (2 oz.) club soda
Garnish (optional): fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries

Pour the Lillet Rosé into a large pitcher or glass container. Lightly crush the dried lavender flowers between your hands to release the essential oils and place in a tea bell or a piece of cheese cloth tied with kitchen twine and suspend in the wine. Allow the lavender to infuse the wine while you prepare the fruit.

Wash and remove the stone from the plum, nectarine, and apricots. Slice into 1/3 inch wedges and drop into the pitcher. Thinly slice half the lemon (reserve the other half) into rounds or half moons and add to the sangria. Stir gently with a wooden spoon. Chill the sangria overnight, or at least 3-4 hours, to allow the fruit, lavender, and Lillet Rosé to steep.

Just before serving, use a sharp knife to remove large strips of peel from the reserved lemon and wipe the yellow skin of peel around the inside of each glass. Place the ice in the glasses, remove the lavender sachet from the sangria, and add the club soda to the pitcher.

Divide the sangria among the glasses making sure that the fruit goes in too – it’s delicious! Garnish with a sprig of lavender (if using) or additional berries as your heart desires. Relax and enjoy.

Original recipe created for Maman and sponsored by Lillet. All opinions are my own.

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes! I used a large pitcher, liquid measuring cup small cutting board, utility knife, wooden spoon, cheese cloth, and kitchen twine.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria
Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Reading Material - San Francisco

Pacific Heights, San Francisco, California  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Pacific Heights, San Francisco, California | Image: Laura Messersmith

It’s been a busy two weeks of travel first out to San Francisco where we hiked up this super steep hill to Pacific Heights and spotted this incredible house on the way – I could move right in! Then it was on to South Carolina with a great crew of friends (and kiddos!) for lots of football, cooking, and beach time. This is what I made in case you were curious:

All those flights have left this space a little radio-silent, but it’s fall again and I’m feeling reinvigorated to dive into new recipes featuring some of my favorite ingredients – prepare yourself for #smallkitchenfriendly recipes with lots of apples, squash, and warming spices. This weekend marks the first hurricane of the season shifting toward New York and it’s the perfect time to hunker down with some excellent reading material read by candlelight if necessary.

Reading Material:

Rainy weekends call for a stack of movies and The Kitchn has a perfectly curated list of their favorite movie kitchens. I’d willingly cook in every single one!

While we’re on the subject of silver screen perfection, this round table discussion of Nancy Meyers from The Toast is a spot-on summation of her seamless style.

If you haven’t read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins yet (soon to star the wonderful Emily Blunt) please do! It made a 6 hour flight back from SF fly by, pun 100% intended.

This list of media brands as cocktails from Food52 is a little inside baseball, but it still made me smile. I think I’m either a Cherry Bombe girl or on a good day Food + Wine….

More humor, this time burgers as chefs from The New Yorker. Of course, our girl Ina got a shout out.

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float | Image: Laura Messersmith

I don’t remember when I first tasted a Dark N Stormy, but I do remember when I fell in love with them. It was over a long, sticky Memorial Day weekend five years ago. We were visiting Bermuda for the wedding of some dear friends and the national drink was prominently featured at their reception. The number of cocktails consumed is lost to the winds of time, probably better that way, but my devotion to the Dark N’ Stormy lives on.

Fast forward to a long plane ride earlier this summer with lots of cooking magazines in my carry on and this article in Bon Appétit on boozy floats. That’s when it came to me – my favorite summertime drink was just a scoop of vanilla ice cream away from being an amazing float. When the lightbulb went on I immediately felt silly that I hadn't thought of it sooner - it's so obviously a match made in heaven!

Personally, I’m devoted to the deeply spicy sweetness of Gosling’s ginger beer paired with the sharp sweetness of the company’s Black Seal Rum. Proportions below assume that you’re in it more for the float than for the booze, although you’ll notice from my photos that I used old-fashioned glasses and half the amount of ginger beer. The rum and the ice cream stayed the same, so you can see where my priorities are…

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float | Image: Laura Messersmith

Dark N Stormy Float (serves 4) 

4 (12 ounce) cans Goslings Stormy ginger beer
4 ounces Goslings Black Seal rum, divided
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 lime, cut in wedges

Chill both the rum and the ginger beer; overnight in the refrigerator if you can. Assuming a hot day, take the ice cream out of the freezer 4-5 minutes in advance and allow to soften slightly, longer if it’s cold outside. If it’s a very hot day, chill the glasses too.

Fill the glasses with ginger beer leaving 2-3 inches of space at the top; 1 can will just barely fit in a pint glass but you'll need the extra space. Measure out 1 ounce of Goslings Black Seal Rum into a shot glass or jigger and gently pour onto the ginger beer so that the rum stays afloat at the top of the glass and there are two distinct layers. Using the back of a spoon will help.

Scoop a generous portion of ice cream (1/4 – 1/3 cup) into a roundish ball and place into the glass. Softened ice cream and an ice cream scoop will make this easier, but the results will be the same regardless of how perfect your technique is. Your preference here on whether your glass and appetite warrant a second scoop.

Repeat the process until each glass is full of foamy, fizzy ginger beer and ice cream. Garnish with a wedge of lime. Drink immediately!

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
As easy as they come. To make the full recipe you’ll need four large glasses, a jigger or shot glass, ice cream scoop, spoon, paring knife and small cutting board.

The Verdict:
So simple and so epically good I can’t believe I didn’t think of this combination sooner. I made a batch of these at cocktail hour on a sticky hot July night and they were just what the doctor ordered. Perfect for when it’s too oven-ish to eat, but a drink sounds juuust right. In my book the vanilla and ginger are perfect against the edge of the rum and acid of a small squeeze of lime. On a semi-topical note - I think that the foamy ice cream resembles those briny clouds that form along the shore. So, further nautical authenticity reasons to make this.

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Dark N Stormy Ice Cream Float | Image: Laura Messersmith

Rosé Colored Glasses

Design:  Laura Messersmith \  Image:   Martha Stewart Living

Design: Laura Messersmith \ Image: Martha Stewart Living

Is it just me, or is rosé having kind of a moment right now? I swear every magazine, Pinterest board, and Instagram account is full of glasses tinted pink. I know it’s a classic ‘summer wine,’ but it seems particularly in fashion this year.

I’ve been fully on board the rosé bandwagon for a while now, so you won’t catch me complaining about its presence on more wine lists and any restaurant that stocks Fritz-Hasselbach Fritz's Rosé 2013 will get double points in my book. Our latest Plonk shipment included a bottle and my love for rosé was never more rewarded than after my first taste.

Pale blush to deep cherry it all looks delicious to me, but Fritz’s version is particularly bright and tangy with raspberry notes. I’m sort of embarrassed, but mostly feeling a pleasant sense of anticipation that I’ve already called ‘dibs’ on the last glass. I’m biding my time, waiting for the right moment to enjoy it and planning to pick-up a few more bottles to enjoy over the next few months…. Fritz would be a great addition to any barbeque or late afternoon on the porch.

While some rosés, like my friend Fritz, can stand on their own while others need a little help. Enter a welcome rescuer: sangria. I came across this recipe for a Rosé Cucumber Cooler, which involves even more of my favorite flavors – St. Germaine, lemon, and cucumber – I immediately added it to my list of warm weather mixed drinks. Big plans for this coming weekend…hope you have some fun things on the rosy pink horizon too!