While I was in New York, a new acquaintance took me out for drinks. We ended up at a small spanish place so forgettable that I can't even recall the name or the neighborhood. The only thing I remember about the place was the cucumber sangria, which was brilliant. Well, at the time I thought it was brilliant. Cool glasses of bone dry white wine featuring crisp rounds of cucumber seemed like perfection.
And it really was, until a few weeks ago when I stumbled on an episode of Cooking for Real with Sunny Anderson. I'm not a huge Food Network fan, but she was making cucumber juice, so I stopped to watch. Intrigued, my mind reeled back to the cucumber sangria. "This would make the sangria so much better," I thought to myself. I had to try it.
That's exactly what I did this weekend. After a quick jaunt to Whole Foods, I settled into my boyfriend's kitchen and started my experiment. The result was slightly murky (because I haven't mastered the art of filtering with cheesecloth) but beautifully green, sweet sangria. The juice couldn't be easier to make and it paired perfectly with the sauvignon blanc I chose to use for the wine base. And the best part is, the juice makes a great mixing liquid. Next time, I plan to use it with sake instead of wine. But for now, here's my recipe for sangria.
Emerald Sangria (cucumber juice courtesy of Sunny Anderson):
2 english cucumbers
1 cup water
750ml dry white wine of your choice, like sauvignon blanc
Peel the cucumbers and reserve the skins. In a medium pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Grate the cucumbers and add them to the boiling syrup. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cucumbers are tender, about 10 minutes. Allow mixture to cool slightly then add to a blender with cucumber skins. Blend until smooth and bright green. Line a bowl with cheesecloth and pour the mixture into it. Wrap the cloth tightly around the dregs and squeeze out the juice. Allow the juice to cool, covered in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Add about half of the juice to a pitcher and pour the white wine over it. Stir and rechill for another 20 minutes.