Chai Sangria Granita with Honey Cinnamon Whipped Cream & Boozy Fruit

Happy New Year! We made it through 2016 and that title! We deserve a drink!

 Chai Sangria Granita

Hey, I know it's probably Day 2 of your plan to be healthy in 2017 and maybe you've given up alcohol for the month* but I can't be boring and put some detox smoothie full of empty promises up here. I also know that it is winter and this is roughly the temperature of the outside you are probably hibernating from, but hear me out! 

You know when you make sangria and you have all the fruit left over after you are done drinking? Well, if you are like me, you probably snack on a few pieces then feel a little silly eating what is essentially the equivalent of boozy coffee grounds and so you stop, tossing the brandy-soaked morsels into the trash. Well, no more! It's a new year and we have plans to welcome good fortune, so we can start by being frugal and putting that delicious tipsy fruit right on top of some granita, where it definitely belongs. And duh, I've made the granita out of the sangria and so it's fun times all around, tempered only by a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream because we do need a little moderation in January.

This recipe is based on a sangria recipe I tried for Thanksgiving, which was a huge hit but did leave behind a pitcherful of unclaimed brandy-steeped tidbits of apple, pear, orange and cranberries. I had a brilliant idea to cook the soaked cranberries down into a sauce, but since Thanksgiving is over now I didn't want to go there for at least 11 months. So, I ventured instead into the world of granita and I'm so glad I did. I think you should be too. 

*For the record, I did decide not to drink for all of January so please have some of this for me. 

 Making Sangria Granita
 Sangria Granita
 Sangria Granita and Toppings
 Chai Sangria Granita with Boozy Fruit

Sangria Granita with Honey Cinnamon Whipped Cream & Boozy Fruit

Makes 4 generous servings. Sangria base inspired by Jessica's Cranberry Chai version. Granita method from David Lebovitz

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 2 cups red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 orange, peeled, sectioned, and diced
  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 1 pear, cored and diced
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  1. Heat sugar and juices in a large pot until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags and add wine, brandy, ginger, and fruit. Stir together and then let sit at least 30 minutes or longer if you can.
  3. When ready to freeze, strain the fruit out of the mixture and transfer to a bowl. Set aside, covered, in the refrigerator until needed. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 baking pan and transfer to a flat surface in the freezer. Check after one hour.
  4. Once the mixture begins freezing around the edges, rake the frozen edges into smaller chunks with a fork, toward the center of the pan. Return the pan to the freezer, then check every 30 minutes, repeating the raking process until you have fine crystals of granita. There is a lot of alcohol in this mixture so it takes about 6-7 hours to completely freeze. Keep granita in the freezer until ready to serve.
  5. When ready to serve, set serving dishes in the freezer to chill. Whisk together the heavy cream, honey, and cinnamon to taste into soft peaks. Pile the granita into the chilled dishes, spoon on desired amount of whipped cream, and then top with the reserved fruit (as much or as little as you like, it's VERY strong). Enjoy immediately.