Around this time of year, whenever I used to come across a recipe that featured concord grapes, I would get a little jealous. I had never seen or tasted concord grapes. My closest encounter with concord grapes was unfortunately, Welch’s grape juice commercials.
I always thought that concord grapes only grew on the east coast, so you’ll imagine my surprise when my oldest friend, Emily, and her new husband, Krys, showed up for an impromptu dinner party last week with a tupperware full of concord grapes fresh cut from the vines on their farm.
Emily has been living on this farm, Rita’s Fog Farm is its name, for at least 3 years and this is the first I’ve heard of any concord grapes, so I was both confused and happy at the same time. After popping a few of the grapes into my mouth, I was absolutely amazed! They grow a seedless varietal that is incredibly sweet with a flavor that’s exactly like the grape juice I remembered from my childhood.
I didn’t know what to make with the grapes and considered a galette of some sort, but decided I’d start with a cocktail. Full disclosure: there is no wine in this sangria. The drink is simply inspired by sangria. As Krys comes from a long line of Polish vodka drinkers, vodka is the base spirit. I tried using rosemary and mint, but prefer the rosemary. My next batch I’ll try basil! Don’t skip this herb step, it really enhances the flavor of the beverage.
Fog Farm Sangria
1 sprig rosemary (or other herb)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 ounce concord grape juice (Put an entire bunch of grapes in a food processor or blender with a little bit of water. Process or blend until you have juice. Strain, or don’t if you’re lazy like me, and measure.)
2 ounces vodka
2-3 ounces sparkling water
- Place the herbs and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Muddle gently to release the essential oil of the herbs.
- Add the lemon juice, grape puree, vodka, and fill with ice.
- Shake well for 30-40 seconds.
- Strain into a wine glass filled with ice. Top with the sparkling water and enjoy immediately.
Makes 1 drink.