Michael Chiarello's Grilled Zinfandel Sangria
Grilling lemon and orange slices and halved grapes intensifies the fruit and gives the sangria a smoky, rich flavor. You can increase the amount of this drink easily by following this proportion: for every 1 cup of red wine, pour in 1 ounce of brandy and 1 ounce of simple syrup.
2 oranges, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices with peel
2 lemons, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices with peel
1 large cluster of grapes, fruit cut in half
4 cups Zinfandel
4 ounces simple syrup (see below)
4 ounces brandy
On a clean grill rack over a gas grill or a charcoal fire that is half burned down, grill the citrus slices. Put the grape halves in a fine-mesh grill basket. Grill until the citrus slices show some brown, about 2 minutes per side. Shake the grill basket every 30 seconds or so to allow the grapes to cook evenly. Take all the fruit off the fire when it's juicy and smoky; don't let it develop too much black char. Put all the fruit in the fridge to cool.
In a large glass pitcher or decanter, mix together the Zinfandel, simple syrup and brandy. Add the fruit to the pitcher and chill until ready to serve. Add ice to the pitcher, but not until your guests are there and you're starting to pour.
In a small pan over high heat, bring 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup granulated sugar to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, and then take pan off heat and set aside.
Recipe reprinted from Live Fire: 125 Recipes for Cooking Outdoors by Michael Chiarello. Available at amazon.com.
Notes: If you like, grill extra fruit and set up a small sangria bar where people can garnish their drink with as much fruit as they like. Make this at least 4 hours in advance to give the wine time to absorb the flavors of the fruit.
Makes about 5 cups
Originally published in the June 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.