Sangria might be Spanish in origin, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put an international spin on it. That’s exactly what famous New York City bartender and author Jim Meehan does with the Nouveau Sangaree, a Sangria twist with French and New England elements. While still bright and cheering, the drink has a lovely autumnal quality to it. And, rather than making a whole pitcher’s worth, this recipe is for single servings.
As with any Sangria variation, this one starts with red wine. Specifically, Meehan uses Beaujolais Nouveau, a light red French wine made with gamay and released in November each year. Besides giving the drink part of its name, the wine gives it a bright, vivid base. You can use another wine, but if you do you’ll want to make sure to use something on the lighter-bodied side, like an American pinot noir.
Rather than a traditional brandy like cognac, Meehan opts for an American staple: Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy, one of the oldest liquors in the country. Made from 100% apples, this rich and golden spirit evokes the autumn, and its apple flavors come through clearly even in cocktails.
To add to that feeling of autumn in New England, Meehan sweetens the drink with a bit of maple syrup—grade B, which is darker and stronger than grade A. Sloe gin, a gin-based liquor flavored with English sloe berries, adds a touch of Old England. Meehan uses Plymouth sloe gin, but another sloe gin can be used instead—but keep in mind that traditional gin is not an accurate substitute.
One way the Nouveau Sangaree differs from traditional sangria is with its presentation—rather than being served in a pitcher and poured over ice, it’s served in a cocktail glass with no ice, dusted with cinnamon and garnished with an apple slice. It’s like a full glass of Sangria condensed into a single cocktail-sized serving.
- 2 ounces Beaujolais nouveau wine (you may substitute another red wine)
- 1 1/2 ounces Laird’s straight bottled in bond apple brandy
- 1/2 ounces Plymouth sloe gin
- 1/4 ounce grade B maple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish: apple slices
- Garnish: grated cinnamon
Add the Beaujolais nouveau (or other red wine), Laird’s apple brandy, sloe gin, maple syrup and Angostura bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with thin apple slices and grated cinnamon.