Posted by: dan | August 25, 2009

fruits and wine

Iced Tea Header
(title with apologies to Ben Folds Five)

Dan: Those of you who have read my review of Adagio’s Fruit Sangria / Fruit Medley will know that I loved it. Not only that but I decided it might be good actually as an ingredient of sangria. And iced tea. It came to the weekend and I went for it. I bought myself some ingredients and started some rather different brewing.

Iced tea and alcohol – haven’t we seen this somewhere before? Oh boy…

The tea turns a surprisingly deep red.

The tea turns a surprisingly deep red.

First up is the iced tea. This isn’t too far different from a regular cup of tea – it’s just colder. I’m a bit new to iced tea (never really seen the appeal) but the Fruit Medley seemed perfect for making a nice cold fruity drink. Rather than try a normal iced tea made with a black tea, I thought I would give a herbal infusion a try first. It seemed more sensible. Before I go any further here’s how I made it:

1. On the evening before I wanted to drink it I took a generous amount of the tea and placed it in the infuser.
2. I then poured some filtered water (if you don’t have any you can boil some water and let it cool – it’ll do) into the teapot.
3. Put the teapot in the fridge and let it cool overnight/until you want to drink it. Simple!

Next: sangria. Now this one is a little flimsier in terms of relation to tea. It was only a tiny part of the overall outcome as I used the following to make it:

1 orange
1 lemon
1 apple
1 bottle of tempranillo red wine
1 splash of brandy
2 teaspoons of sugar
3 pinches of the Fruit Medley tea

And then you add some tonic water to it when it’s ready to drink so the tea should have little effect but we’ll see when we come to drink it (probably after the iced tea). Here’s what I did to make the sangria (bear in mind it’s not something I’ve done before so it’s likely to be a slightly unorthodox method):

More alcoholic than it looks.

More alcoholic than it looks.

1. Pour the entire bottle of tempranillo into a big bowl. Be disappointed by the amount of space it appears to take up.
2. I peeled the orange and broke it up into segments. I squeezed them all a little bit to release some of the juice and then put the orange segments in the wine to soak.
3. I then chopped the lemon in half and used one quarter to queeze the juice out and another quarter to squeeze a little juice out and placed it in the wine. I then chopped the other half of the lemon into slices and placed them in the bowl too. At this point I cut my finger – I advise against doing this as it hurts.
4. Chop the apple into pieces and put them in the bowl.
5. I added the 2 teaspoons of sugar and threw a completely unmeasured amount of brandy in the mix too. Like I said – I’ve not done this before.
6. Put it in the fridge! (Make sure you have room in your fridge before you start).

They’re both cooling in my fridge as we speak, and when Ben and his fiance come over later we’ll drink them both and try to give a sober (unlikely) opinion of them for you.


Iced Teas

First to be served was the iced tea. I’m stealing Ben’s conversation format for the part of the review:

Dan: Hmm, it’s a little watery. Perhaps I should have used a bit more tea when making it.

Ben’s fiance: It tastes like a hot fruit tea that’s been left to go cold.

Ben: Yeah, it’s similar to apple and blackcurrant juice.

Dan: There’s definitely some apple but the next thing I’m getting is raspberries. There’s precious little more to it, which is a shame.

Ben: There’s no mouthfeel to it. It would probably be nicer with vodka in it. Or Pimms actually.

Ben’s fiance: It tastes like a red wine gum.

Dan: That’s actually very accurate. I’m disappointed – it was much better when it was hot. Oh well. Let’s try it with fruit – and more importantly – alcohol.

Glass of chill

Dan: I’ll hop back to a review style for the sangria. It was sufficiently chilled and I ladled some out into three glasses (without fruit chunks for the first glass) and added the soda water. I served it to my guests and we all came to conclusions fairly quickly. The fizziness was quite nice and there was definite orange flavour to it. It also smells and tastes quite like mulled wine but with fewer spices and a lot colder. It’s sufficiently different to stand on its own as a drink though. Ben suggested that it might have been better with lemonade and I had to agree – the lemon juice had barely come through at all. Ben’s fiance also suggested that it could be stronger (but declined an extra splash of brandy which was probably quite wise). We all agreed that the tea had added barely anything to it.

As such, this isn’t really on-topic or relevant to all you tea-drinking readers. Sorry. At least you know not to waste any herbal teas in any sangria you make. Nevertheless it was a nice enough drink.

When I handed out glasses with fruit chunks we made another discovery. While apples can be added to sangria it’s generally not too great an idea – they seem to soak up all the alcohol. This is of course fine if you like to get drunk on apples but don’t like cider (works for me) but not so great if you’re after an alcoholic drink.

Oh, and it’s a bit expensive to make – you’re probably better off with just a bottle of wine or getting someone else to make it.


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