For all the combinations of wine, liquors and liqueurs that I love I’ve never been particularly fond of Red Wine Sangria. I think I’ve had some that’s had a wine that was too heavy or the entire batch was too heavily spiced. Then one day several years ago I discovered a recipe by Bobby Flay for a White Peach Sangria and it was a revelation. Lighter, more fruit forward and with the fruits of summer, the perfect cocktail for having friends over for a summer barbecue. I’ve made that Flay recipe often but last year I tried my hand at a bit different mix of ingredients and this White Peach and Bing Cherry Sangria was so good that I’ve been encouraged to keep on experimenting in that direction. This year I switched it up a bit again and instead of a regular white wine I used one of my favorite mixers; an Italian Prosecco sparkling wine. Filled with fresh fruit and a citrus simple syrup, it’s light, pretty and a great fun beverage for a gathering of friends.
Making this cocktail brought together two favorites; Woody Creek Vodka, a potato vodka from Colorado and Villa Massa Limoncello from Italy. While I will make my own Limoncello, when asked to try this product I knew it would be good; Italy’s Limoncello is the standard bearer and I can’t deny, it’s better than mine!
The vodka from Woody Creek Distillers (WCD) is 100% Potato Vodka made with alpine potatoes grown on the Woody Creek Farm located 8 miles from the distillery in the Aspen Valley in Colorado. After two years experimenting with different varietals, in May 2012, Woody Creek Distillers planted its first commercial crop of potatoes, the first commercial crop in the Aspen Valley in approximately 75 years. After a plentiful fall harvest of more than 500,000 pounds of potatoes, in Sept. 2012 WCD began distilling in its Basalt facility. Since WCD Signature and Reserve vodkas are made from potatoes, they are gluten free and WCD does not add any additives or flavors to the spirits. WCD also does an intense clean between batches and are confident there is no cross contamination of ingredients. Great news for my GF friends!
Woody Creek Distillers makes more than just vodka although some of their products are not yet ready for release. I think a trip to Aspen is in the cards for me; I love visiting Colorado companies that put so much care into their products and, well, visiting Aspen is not all bad either.
- Woody Creek Reserve Stobrawa Vodka: WCD is the only distillery in North America using Stobrawa potatoes for vodka. It is a rare Polish potato known for its high-starch content and flavor complexity. Two acres of the Stobrawa varietal were grown at the Farm for this limited offering.
- Woody Creek Colorado Gin: Handcrafted potato gin with a smooth up front taste. Slated for a 2014 fall release.
- Four-Grain Whiskey: A balanced mash-build of corn, wheat, rye and malted barley is aged for six months and more. Available for purchase in 2015.
- Rye Whiskey: 100 percent rye mash. A warm and spicy spirit, with full, bread-like aromas. Available for purchase in 2015.
- White Whiskey: 100 percent Olathe Sweet Corn mash. Unadulterated and bottled straight from the still with clean flavors, smooth drinkability and amenable mixing attributes. Available for purchase in 2015.
- Apple Brandy: We blend local Rome and Jonathan apples from Paonia, Colorado, and age this traditional spirit in used American White Oak barrels for an exceptionally flavorful and aromatic brandy. Available for purchase in 2015.
- Pear Eau de Vie: This clear, colorless fruit brandy is a rectified spirit made entirely from Colorado Williams pears and mountain spring water. Available for purchase in 2015.
I loved this vodka and highly recommend you try it if you can; it does have limited distribution, mostly in Colorado, Kansas and Tennessee with one location in New York.
The Villa Massa Limoncello was the perfect partner with this vodka. Have you ever had Limoncello? It’s addictive; an excellent digestif if served cold, Limoncello is also fast becoming one of my favorite mixers and the quickest cocktail I use it for simply mixes it with cold Prosecco; undoubtedly the inspiration for this sangria!
The first piece of historic information regarding Limoncello is relative to the island of Capri where, in 1900, the “Limoncello” trademark was registered for the first time. However, there are documents of that period that say that the lemon liqueur was already present on the tables of the families of Sorrento, used as an aperitif or digestif. According to the tradition of Amalfi, the origins of Limoncello are, instead, traceable back to the same period in which the cultivation of lemons began.
The Massa family was also one among these and, today, the Villa Massa company, in the heart of the Sorrento peninsula, remains true to the best tradition of the Limoncello of Sorrento, thanks to the painstaking process that reflects the traditional family recipe and to the careful selection of the raw materials used. Limoncello is undoubtedly one of the most famous and popular products of the Campania region; Limoncello is usually served at the end of lunch or dinner, almost like the social ritual of drinking coffee. We also enjoy it in the summer poured over vanilla ice cream and served with fresh fruit. Divine.
The two together? Really a perfect pair!
- 3 oranges
- 3 limes
- 2 lemons
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 cups ice
- 10 ounces frozen raspberries
- 1 cup vodka
- ½ cup Limoncello
- 1 bottle of Prosecco, chilled
- Juice 2 oranges, 2 limes and 1 lemon to measure approximately ½ cup of juice. Combine the citrus juices and the sugar in a saucepan and warm over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool.
- Thinly slice the remaining orange, lime and lemon.
- In a large pitcher, combine the ice, citrus slices, raspberries, vodka and Limoncello and stir.
- Top with Prosecco; stir gently and serve; garnish with fruit if desired.
I was provided with samples of the Woody Creek Vodka and the Villa Massa Limoncello however all commentary is my own.