Now that it’s springtime, restaurants that adapt their menus with the seasons would no doubt be introducing fruity, refreshing cocktails for diners to sip on their patios.
East Austin restaurant Contigo has a particularly epic patio, and while we can’t necessarily recreate that at home, we can at least make the sparkling sangria that had been on the menu there. (During the coronavirus shelter-in-place, Contigo has a drive-thru to pick up food and some drinks, but cocktail kits are not on offer as they are at some local restaurants.)
After our first Austin Cocktails at Home installment ran in the paper last week, I received a handful of recipe requests for future ones, including one for Contigo’s sparkling sangria. Reader Karla wrote that she had tried to recreate it on a beach vacation last year and couldn’t get it just right.
Contigo appears to rotate out the ingredients of the sparkling sangria (the wine-based drink is an easy one to make seasonal, depending on the fresh fruit available), but we snagged the recipe of the current iteration from Edgewise Hospitality beverage director Jessica Sanders. Edgewise owns Contigo.
Note that it’ll take some preparation: You’ll be letting strawberry and basil infuse into an elderflower liqueur for several hours before making the actual drink. And no, you don’t have to track down the exact sparkling rosé that Contigo uses, but Sanders has tips on what to look for in the grocery store.
"I do recommend choosing one that is on the dry side and has a nice effervescence because the St. Germain is a bit sweet, and you'll want a wine that balances that with brightness," Sanders said. "A light-bodied sparkling rosé Cava (affordable!) or even some rosé pet-nats (like the one from local winery William Chris — splurge!) just might have enough bubble ’oomph’ to work well here."
She also noted that you shouldn’t throw away the leftover strawberry pulp, once the infusion is ready to go. Instead, she said, "throw it in the freezer and, when ready, add to a blender with still rosé for a future housemade frosé, or throw into your ice cream maker for a slightly boozy sherbet or sorbet."
5 oz. La Bella Sparkling Rosé
1 oz. strawberry-basil-infused St. Germain
Build all ingredients in a wine glass over cubed ice. Garnish with fresh strawberries and a basil leaf.
Strawberry- and Basil-Infused St. Germain
1 750 ml. bottle of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
Pour the St. Germain over the basil and strawberries. Cover and chill the mixture for at 4-6 hours.
When ready, strain out the herbs and fruit.
— Contigo Austin
Our Austin Cocktails at Home series runs weekly and features cocktail recipes from beloved local bars and restaurants that are easy to make at home. Have a cocktail from your favorite local watering hole in mind that you’d like to learn how to whip up? Email email@example.com.