I’ve recently moved from Ontario to Edmonton, Alberta. It was no last minute decision on my part, a lot of factors came into play, and it took months for me to finally make the final decision. The -40 degree warnings didn’t deter me, Hamilton is pretty cold in its own right. My apartment was near water, so at times the winds were strong enough to sweep me off my feet and leaving me a stiff, shivering penguin. Actually, I had no expectation of Edmonton. It may sound simplistic, but I just wanted to be near my high school sweetheart of 15 years. What can I say, I’m a romantic at heart.
Coming from Ontario, I finally stood face to face with real, snowy, icy winter. The kind of winter where wearing two wool socks along with your winter boots is only enough to keep you warm for a minute or two, where the snow falls continuously and furiously, and where it takes a whole freakin hour just to warm up and take the snow and ice off your car. So lately, I`ve been needing a drink, or two, or three…oh, who am I kidding, if there’s an option to insert it into my vein, I would. Except for the whole me completely scared of needles thing.
My sister, who is visiting for a couple of weeks, introduced me to Japanese plum wine (umeshu). Although it’s more like a sweetened plum-flavoured liqueur than a wine, it has become a favourite of mine with its subtle sweetness, elegant touch of acidity with a hint of tartness and a light enticing aroma. It’s truly delightful on its own, or on the rocks. Of course, being the curious experimenter that we are, my sister and I concocted a watermelon sangria with a little Japanese twist thanks to the Umeshu. We needed an extra little kick in our drinks, so this is definitely not your average fruity sangria. Drink at your own risk (drunken talk will ensue), we like ours a little strong.
Plum in the Sun (Watermelon Sangria with Umeshu)
1 small watermelon
1 cup plum wine
1 cup rose
1/3 cup of vodka (or more depending on your preference)
1 orange, thinly sliced
Frozen mango cubes
Frozen berry mix
Mint for garnish
With a large sharp knife, remove the top portion of the watermelon. Big enough to create a small hole to scoop out the flesh of the watermelon using a melon baller or a really round spoon if you don’t have one of those. Leave 1/2 inch of flesh inside the shell of the watermelon. Keep the watermelon shell in the refrigerator to be used later. Place the scooped watermelon into a separate pitcher. Add vodka and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 3 – 24 hours.
Right before serving, add the frozen fruits and your favourite rose and umeshu.
For extra eye candy, scoop some of the watermelon and vodka mixtures from the pitcher and place it into the watermelon bowl. Add the frozen fruits, oranges, rose and umeshu and serve. Garnish and enjoy your watermelon sangria!