In more recent years I’ve been toying with peaches a bit—caramels, bourbon, spices. My favorite has easily been the roasted peach shortcakes I made last summer where, in addition to being served with a bourbon whipped cream, the shortcakes themselves are made with ground amaretti cookies in place of some of the flour. Their taste is out of this world. I went back and forth over what exactly I should do with the peaches I brought home not that long ago. After some soul searching, reaching deep into the depths of my inner-most creativity, I said “screw it” and went with a simple old standby classic of mine.
One. Trick. Pony… Hi.
I’ve been making this for so long it’s practically instinctive—peach sangria. It’s the cleanest, purest essence of peaches with nothing else like caramels or bourbons or vanilla or ginger to get in the way (though those are nice, too). Essentially, you make up something akin to a peach puree-juice combo by cooking the stone fruit—a mix of yellow and white work best in my opinion—in some water with a bit of sugar until they basically melt. A few passes through a fine mesh sieve and you’re left with this gloriously peachy nectar that is a vision of summer (side note: boil it down a bit more, add some more sugar and make a thick syrup of it. Cool and pour over ice cream. Yeah.)
At this point, all that’s left is to pour it into a pitcher with some more sliced peaches, a little vodka, and a bottle of white wine. Pinot Grigio is my go-to for this—I accidentally used Chardonnay when I made this last summer and it was NOT great.
Before summer comes to a close (where has the time gone) go grab some peaches and make up a pitcher of this sangria. You won’t regret it.
Start by pitting 1 pound of the peaches and roughly chopping them. Tumble them into a small saucepan, pour over the water, and cover. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Keep it at a simmer for about 10 minutes, at which point the peaches will have virtually melted.
Simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered before stirring in the sugar. The best way to know just how much is to taste the liquid—if the peaches are very sweet you'll only need a spoonful or two; if they could use some help add a bit more. At the same time, if you feel the peachiness could be a little stronger reduce it for a few minutes more. Shut off the heat, stir in the peach brandy, and set aside to cool.
Once the peachy juice is cooled, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve, and then through the sieve again, this time lined with cheesecloth (to remove all the little bits of pulp). You should end up with about 1-1/2 cups of the juice.
Pour the juice into a pitcher along with the wine, vodka, and remaining 1/2 pound of peaches, which you've pitted and sliced. Stir, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but up to 12.
Serve chilled. If you want, serve a little carbonated/soda water alongside to add some extra sparkle and effervescence.