I am so glad you all liked the party recap yesterday! I hope it’s proof that vegan entertaining can be as fun as it is delicious and effortless. If you’re interested, the dessert recipes are up on the interwebs! To check out Victoria’s amazing high raw peanut butter pie (made with banana soft serve and peanut flour) you can find the link here. And to make Andrea’s wonderful roasted strawberry and coconut ice cream, check out her recipe. I’ve already given you a run down of most of my recipes, so now it’s time to share the one recipe I withheld yesterday: my delicious new formula for kombucha infused sangria.
I’ve probably mentioned in the past that I’m not much of a drinker, right? This is not to say that I never was a drinker, nor do I think moderate/occasional drinking is bad for you. My reasons for drinking seldom are strictly personal—a combination of not liking how I feel when I drink more than a very little, and personal/family history.
Because it’s not some sort of strict health stance, I do drink on occasion. That occasion is usually sharing a nice glass of wine with a partner or friend at a restaurant, celebrating something big with a sip of champagne, or pouring myself a glass of scotch after receiving an Orgo grade. Whatever the case, I rarely manage to polish off a cocktail on my own, but I do savor the chance to celebrate (mindfully) with a tasty libation.
One of the downsides to being an infrequent drinker is that one tends to lose one’s skills as a bartender. As I was preparing to have people over on Sunday, I realized only late in the afternoon that, while I’d lovingly prepared appetizers aplenty, I had virtually no beverages on offering (alcoholic or non). I knew Dasha was bringing over some coconut water, and I had regular water around, but what if my guests wanted to sip something a little more festive? Since it was warm and summery outside, M suggested that I consider making sangria. It was a great idea, and it became even more interesting when I started to ponder what it might be like to mix red wine with kombucha. A lot of sangria recipes call for club soda or 7 Up; why not stay in the carbonated theme, but choose something a little healthier than a soda?
Enter cranberry kombucha. I contemplated using the gingerade or synergy flavors, but in the end, cranberry worked best with the taste of wine, and it added something valuable to the dish without altering the fundamental taste of traditional sangria. One bottle of kombucha per bottle of red wine was just right!
Kombucha Infused Sangria
1 bottle vegan red wine (see information below on vegan wine)
1 bottle cranberry kombucha (original flavor will work, too)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large apple, chopped
1 large peach, chopped
1 lemon, sectioned or cut into thin rounds
1 large orange, sectioned
1 tsp liquid or dry stevia or 1/4 cup agave syrup (optional, but I think it makes the recipe better)
Fill a large pitcher with ice. Add all other ingredients and stir. Refrigerate overnight for best taste, but a few hours will work just fine. Adjust sweetener to taste; you may well want it even sweeter than what I specified!
If you’re missing one ingredient (like the lime juice) rest assured that this is a forgiving recipe! Feel free to add cherries, berries, or pineapple in place of other fruits if you don’t have the ones I suggested. No matter what, this is a wonderful summer drink, and I can’t recommend it enough.
If you want to make a non-alcoholic beverage, simply use 3 bottles of kombucha instead of the the wine+kombucha combo. Remember to sweeten to fit your tastes! I’m definitely going to experiment with more kombucha sangrias this summer, and report back on my findings.
If you scrolled through the ingredients for this recipe and wondered about the vegan wine business, I just wanted to clarify to you that not all wine is vegan. The grapes are vegan, of course, but the “fining agents”—which winemakers use to filter protein, yeast, and cloudiness out of the wine—are nearly always derived from animals. They include blood (most often bull’s blood—this was recently banned in Europe) and bone marrow, gelatin (protein derived from boiling animal parts), isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes), casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (from egg whites). Isinglass is one of the more common fining agents.
Vegan wines are made by using carbon, bentonite clay, plant casein, or other substitutes. Not all organic or natural wines are vegan, so you have to look carefully to be sure a wine is vegan; some bottles now carry a specific label, but many don’t, so it’s best to do some research before you make a purchase. All kosher wine is vegan, so if you’re in a wine shop and don’t have a smartphone with which to do your research, that’s a safe bet. Yellow Tail red wines are also vegan (not the whites), so they’re often my go-to; of course, they’re a lower priced brand, and they may not please true oenophiles, but since I have a rather undiscerning palate, they do the trick!
Here are a few other tried and true vegan brands, courtesy of PETA:
China Bend Winery: www.chinabend.com; 1-800-700-6123
Fitzpatrick Winery: www.fitzpatrickwinery.com; 1-800-245-9166
Frey Winery: www.freywine.com; 1-800-760-3739
Organic Biodynamic Vegan Wine: www.veganitaly.com/index.html; +447786247056
Organic Vintners: www.organicvintners.com; 800-216-3898
Organic Wine Company: www.ecowine.com; 1-888-ECO-WINE
Pure Wine Company: www.purewine.co.uk; 023 80238214
Seghesio Family Vineyards: www.seghesio.com; 866-734-4374
Smithfield Wine: www.petamall.com/PLPShop.asp?RecordID=71; +44 (0161) 273 6070
Thumbprint Cellars: www.thumbprintcellars.com; 707-433-2393
Wrights Wines: www.wrightswines.co.nz; 06 868 0967
And Frommar’s also has a really good and extensive guide.
If this is helpful, I can do a much more extensive post not only on wine, but on other vegan drinks. Let me know! And I hope the sangria is a crowd-pleaser.