Monday, April 16, 2012

Perfect for Spring: Sparkling Cinnamon-Orange Sangria...Featuring Ayala's Sparkling Herbal Water

Warmer weather here in Texas means many things to me: more daylight hours, pedicures and sandals, lighter food, and refreshing drinks. I absolutely love sangria...and I love sparkling sangria even more! I enjoy inventing fun new flavors so I have lots of options to choose from for summer entertaining. When the nice people at Ayala’s Herbal Water sent me a four-pack of their new 12-ounce bottles of flavored sparkling water to sample, I knew that one bottle was earmarked to create some fun fizzy sangria!

Ayala’s organic herbal waters come in both still and sparkling versions of four flavors: Lemongrass Mint Vanilla, Lavender Mint, Ginger Lemon Peel, and Cinnamon Orange Peel. These waters are naturally flavored and contain no sweeteners. For my sangria, I used the Cinnamon Orange Peel. The cinnamon flavor isn’t overpowering, and citrus is the perfect sangria addition. This sangria features springtime fruits, white zinfandel wine, homemade cinnamon-orange simple syrup, and orange juice...Ayala’s provided the fizz! A pitcher of this sangria can be whipped up the morning of your next party...the flavors are even better after everything hangs out in the fridge for a few hours.

Sparkling Cinnamon-Orange Sangria
a Weekend Gourmet Original

 Step 1: Make the simple syrup by adding 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tbs. cinnamon, three large pieces orange peel, and 3/4 cup water to a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve and bring the mixture to a boil over med heat. Set aside to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Step 2: Add the following fruit to the bottom of a glass pitcher: one thinly sliced orange, one thinly sliced lime, half a thinly-sliced green apple, and 1.5 cups frozen grapes. The frozen grapes will keep the sangria cold without diluting it like ice can as it melts. Pour the reserved cinnamon-orange simple syrup over the fruit.

 Step 3:  Add 1.5 cups orange juice, 2 cups blush wine, and one 12-ounce bottle of Ayala’s Cinnamon-Orange Sparkling herbal water to the pitcher. Stir to combine and chill the sangria for at least two hours before serving, if possible. If not, it’s still fabulous...but the resting time really lets the fruit flavor infuse into the sangria.

We really enjoyed this light cocktail...the cinnamon gives it a unique taste that you don’t usually find in sangria! It’s not overpowering thanks to all the other ingredients going on in the pitcher, but you can definitely taste it. Because of the citrus-cinnamon combo, this sangria is especially nice paired with Mexican foods like guacamole and chips, spiced nuts, or even fajitas and tacos. I coated the rims of my glasses with cinnamon sugar before’s optional, but it’s a pretty way to add one more layer of cinnamon flavor. I hope you’ll give my sangria a try and let me know what you think. You can visit Ayala’s website to find out which stores in your area carry their products.

Disclosure: Ayala's Herbal Water sent me a four-pack of their new 12-ounce sparkling herbal water to review and create an original recipe for this blog. As always, my opinions are my own.

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