Friday, June 01, 2012
Mango Mint White Sangria, (and how to cube a mango)
This Memorial Day, it was a beautiful sunny day, quite hot, and the kids were having a play date down the street, and I was in the mood for a nice drink... but I couldn't find where S had hidden the limes for my margarita and he was out and didn't get back to me before I decided to take matters into my own hands and invent a cooling summer drink on the spot.
I opened up the fridge to see what I could find. There was half a bottle of white wine, a little too sweet for my tastes, some fruit that needed to be used up asap, a handful of mint from my potted herb garden and of course, some of my homemade orange liqueur. I only had enough to make one or two glasses, enough for me, but let's see if I can adjust the recipe for a larger portion.
Mango Mint White Sangria
One ripe mango, cut into one inch cubes
One orange, cut into one inch cubes
6 strawberries, cut into one inch pieces
One bottle white wine of choice
One cup mango nectar
1/2 cup orange liqueur (triple sec, cointreau, grand marnier, or homemade)
6 or so sprigs fresh mint, torn into small pieces
Splash sprite or seltzer (optional)
Fruit for garnish (optional)
Cut fruit and put in a wide mouth jar or pitcher. Toss in mint. Pour in mango nectar, wine and liqueur. Stir. Pour in a glass over ice and add a splash of sprite or seltzer to taste. Garnish with fruit. Voila.
In the interest of full disclosure, I got my mango nectar when the first mango I tried to cut up ended up being too soft to cut, so I squeezed it into the pitcher instead. It turned out to be quite a bit of nectar. I'm sure store bought nectar would be just as good. Or, almost anyway. You could substitute the mango/mango nectar for peach and peach nectar... in fact, I substituted mango for peaches, since all the recipes I found online were for white sangria with peaches, and I didn't have any peaches.
I was a little worried that it would be too sweet, what with the sweet white wine, but perhaps because my liqueur was less sweet than store bought, it turned out fine. If it had been too sweet, I'd have added some lime juice to add a bite. But then, if I'd known where the limes were, I would have been drinking a margarita.
There's one more thing I'd like to share about this, the part that is actually the trickiest in making this drink.
How to cut a mango into cubes
Okay, take a ripe mango. First you have to understand the mango. The pit inside is large and almond shaped and flat, and you want to cut around the pit to get the largest portion of the flesh. To do this you cut the mango into three pieces. The center piece with the pit, and two side pieces that will be rather boat shaped and full of mango flesh.
Hold the mango with the stem end pointing up and look for the widest diameter of the mango. That is where the pit will be. Slice down from the stem end, starting a little bit in front of the stem. If you meet some resistance (the seed) angle your knife out a tiny bit to cut around it and then slice all the way through. Do this on both sides of the stem and you will have your two mango boats.
For each mango boat, slice a grid into the flesh, without cutting all the way through the skin. Take your grid marked boat and using your fingers, turn the boat inside out. The flesh will pop up in cubes, which you then can easily slice off of the skin and put into your sangria.
You are now left with the pit, which is ringed with mango flesh and skin. You could peel the skin and cute the flesh off the pit, chopping it up and putting it into you drink, but I always just peel the skin and the eat it all, right off the pit. Yum yum.
I am not sure if this explanation of mango cutting is clear enough, so if you need a visual tutorial, leave a comment and I will go back in and add pictures. I was taught by a Caribbean friend. Once you learn it, it makes mangoes much easier to eat and cook with. Well much less messy anyway.
I hope you take the opportunity this weekend to enjoy yourself and relax, try something tasty. Add a new flavor and see how it works for you.