Ginger and Cucumber Spritzer
"White wine spritzer" feels so seventies, doesn't it? I wasn't even born in that decade but spritzers surely make me thing of fondue and flares. I picture ladies at backyard BBQs, wine spritzer in hand and a whole lotta hair. Personally I'd never order one when out, let alone make a spritzer at home. What a bummer...
Let's try and freshen up that image!
Usually I'm in the "wine is so good by itself, why jazz it up?" camp. But when asked to develop a recipe for Taylors Wines I felt like celebrating the almost warm days that are creeping in and creating a sunshine drink. Call me dreamweaver.
Reaching for Taylors' chardonnay I instantly knew I wanted to add some cucumber to the mix, inspired by a new lady friend and mentor in my life who serves water with strips of cucumber and lemon, which is just so far out. As a ginger fiend, I thought it'd make a lovely addition to the spritzer and so I made a homemade ginger syrup. It's a simple assembly, but so right on - white wine, soda, ice, cucumber, ginger syrup and candied ginger pieces. Lovely.
This ginger and cucumber spritzer is both warming, from the ginger, and refreshing, from the chilled wine and cucumber. I quite fancy it as a friendly drink enjoyed with a dose of afternoon Summer sunshine, you know? Or perhaps you'll stay inside and make it a lazy day, spritzer in hand and some cheesey fondue goodness as you watch The Godfather.
Can you dig it?
Ginger and Cucumber Spritzer
Makes 2 & 1/2 cups
You will need to begin this recipe an hour before you want to serve the drink.
For the ginger syrup (inspired by Joy The Baker):
40g fresh Ginger
1/2 cup White Sugar
2 cups Water
For the spritzer:
1/3 cup Ginger Syrup
1 cup Taylors Chardonnay, chilled (add an extra 1/4-1/2 cup if you prefer a stronger wine flavour) 100g Cucumber, plus extra for serving
1 cup Soda Water, chilled
1 handful Ice Cubes
Optional: Candied Ginger (from when you made the ginger syrup)
1. First, make the ginger syrup. Peel and slice the ginger into thin rounds. In a heavy based saucepan, add the ginger, sugar and water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for ~30 minutes until it begins to reduce, thicken and become a syrup. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the ginger slices and place on a piece of baking paper, allowing them to cool. Pour the syrup into a jar, allow to cool and then store in the fridge. You can make a double (or triple!) batch if you wish, adding more or less ginger as you desire. You can also add more sugar, as is traditionally done, however I find this quantity of sugar sweet enough. The ginger pieces work well in this drink, enhancing the flavour of the ginger syrup, however I also fancy the ginger pieces sprinkled on top of ice-cream or nibbled just as a they are.
2. Next, assemble your spritzer! Put the ginger syrup (and a few ginger pieces, if you desire a stronger flavour) in a pitcher. I couldn't find my clear glass pitcher and so went with a jar. I think it's pretty, though not terribly functional. Add the wine and stir. Slice the cucumber diagonally (~ 1/2cm in size) and place in the pitcher. Allow to infuse for ~30 minutes if you wish, this will help enhance the cucumber flavour. To serve, add the soda water and ice.
Extra sliced cucumber goes down a treat when serving this spritzer. You're drinking salad!
Giveaway! - CLOSED
To get you in the mood for sunshine and spritzers, Taylors Wines are giving away two bottles of their great wine to two super lucky readers - this Chardonnay 2012 featured above and their Pinot Gris 2012. How fabulous is that?!
Taylors are an ace company, producing lovely wine in South Australia's Clare Valley. I hear that Clare Valley is a gorgeous region. I like that Taylors has a recipe page on their website where you can search for recipes to match your wine. I particularly love the look of this Eggplant Parmagiana to go with their Eighty Acres Shiraz Viognier 2012. And look, they even have a cheese fondue recipe to go with your Chardonnay. Taylors, you're so right on.
To win, all you must do is leave a comment below, telling me your favourite thing about wine, why you adore it. I will also accept entries if you tell me your favourite seventies movie. This competition is open to Australian readers only and winners must be of legal drinking age (and be able to provide proof of age by scanning and emailing your ID). The winners will be announced in one week, on the 18th November 2013.
Update: the winners are Carly & Merowyn! Carly for her comment on both the wine love and her 70s movie love - Grease IS the word - and Merowyn for that just truly epic poem ;) Congratulations, ladies! I'll be in contact via email.