It has become a sort of tradition that at every fourth of July party I have, the drink of choice is always sangria. I absolutely love the stuff and it is a signature drink that you can be sure no one will turn their nose up at. This year I displayed mine differently than in the past with the sangria "bases" accompanied by their wine soaked fruit.
While it would have been prettier to keep all the fruit in my pretty serving jars I tried that at my first Fourth of July Party with frustrating results for all. About halfway through each sangria, the fruit and pulp all settled at the bottom, clogging the spouts and making them useless! Plus anyone who actually wanted fruit in their sangria (so everyone but me) had to fish it out with a ladle, not exactly what I was going for. :) Then to add insult to injury it took HOURS to clean the servers out because of all the pulp in the spouts!
But now the question becomes how do we flavor the sangria wine and still collect all the fruit? I used one of my favorite cooking items that few people use nowadays, cheesecloth! It had the perfect balance of letting the fruit soak in the wine as intended but giving me an easier way of getting it all out for friends!
Each fruit for the sangrias I had washed and cut up the night before and that was the best choice I could have made, this process takes a good chunk of time if you are making multiple sangrias!
I cut a square of cheesecloth (You can get it and baker's twine in the cooking tools section of your local grocery store) and folded it out entirely, single ply for those of you who have used cheese cloth. Pile in all your fruit, one type per cloth, and gather all the edges together to create a little bundle of fruit. Tie the ends together using bakers twine and layer each bundle in your serving container. Make sure that you have some room in your bundles for the fruit to move around! I did a lot of squishing and squeezing to get my bundles into the glass jars so extra space makes the process so much easier!
Have faith in your cheesecloth, at its thinnest it really doesn't look like it will stay together and not just rip apart but I only had one blow out of all my cheesecloth "bundles" and I had to be pretty violent to squeeze them all into my sangria servers (notice how small the top is? yeah it was a process).
Once all the fruit bundles were in the servers I added the rest of the ingredients, starting with the additional liquor and sugar in each recipe, then the wine. A couple of my recipes required sparkling cider and water, but I waited until I took out the fruit to add those, fruit takes up a lot of room and I didn't want to lose the bubbles! I loaded all three of my sangrias into the fridge and let them sit for 8 hours.
Once they were ready the fun task of removing the fruit started. I wish there was a better way to do this but honestly the easiest way to get them out is to wash your hands (and forearms) and take each of them out by hand. I had a mixing bowl at the ready for each sangria to hold the bundles which was great for two reasons. First, it held all the fruit so I could refill the little bowls as needed. But better than that it gave me an easy place to deposit fruit that had to be collected from opened bundles. While I was able to get out the majority of the bundles intact, a few were just too fat to come out as they came in. Thus I ripped open a hole in the bag and scooped out about half of the fruit, then it was just able to get through.
Finally I added any extra wine that would fit with the fruit, the bubbly stuff and they were ready to go! The result were far better than last time and so much easier to clean up! Leave any questions in the comments, cheers!