July 4th is around the corner and I have the perfect drink sensation for your festivities: white sangria made with Cava! Decorated with strawberries and blueberries, this special rendition will have all of your guests begging for the recipe. This was certainly the case on the island of Mallorca with Wine-Knows during a private dinner. Fortunately, the chef was willing to share the ingredients, and the star component was unknown to me.
I’ve had several white Sangrias but this one was unusually superb. True, this version was made using Spain’s sparkling Cava, but it wasn’t the bubbles that were tantalizing my taste buds. There was subtle, yet mesmerizing flavors that I couldn’t identify. It turned out to be a Spanish liqueur called “43.”
Licor 43 (Quarenta Tres) is a popular liqueur used throughout Europe, but remains essentially unknown in the US (except by bartenders who specialize in concocting upscale cocktails.) Named because of the 43 herbs and botanicals used, it has a unique taste with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and orange peel. In Spain, it’s not unusual to see "43" added to a coffee for an after dinner drink.
This group of Wine-Knows is on their 2nd white sangria
I bought a bottle of "43" at Duty Free (Malaga's airport had a huge display) to bring home, however, I was surprised after I returned to see that BevMo carries it. This white Sangria recipe is simple, but the flavors are complex. I’ve adjusted the recipe for a 4th of July party (12 servings):
2 bottles of Cava
½ bottle of still, fruity white wine (avoid Sauv Blanc)
3/4 - 1 cup Licor 43 (to taste)
1 Quart (4 cups) sparkling lemonade
Strawberries & blueberries