We’re hitting the Hamptons with the lovely Athena Calderone for a moment of pure summer beach bliss. Athena, whose EyeSwoon recipes have graced our pages many times before (take a gander at her day cooking at an upstate orchard here!) promised us her homemade rosé sangria recipe and we knew we couldn’t miss.
Read through the stylish hostess’ inspiration for an afternoon on the bay and stir up a pitcher for your own summer celebrations. Tomorrow, join us as we share a DIY version of a few of Athena’s favorite summer elements and ideas. Here’s Athena…
Most summers my family and I travel to the Spanish island of Ibiza for a two-week holiday. Summers on the Mediterranean coast are synonymous with paella. Late afternoons are spiked with Cava sangria and feasting on seafood paella so fresh, you can taste the sea in every bite.
For the first August in quite some time, we’ll skip our trip to Ibiza, so I decided I would bring a touch of Spain to Amagansett.
Together with new my friend, Amagansett neighbor, and fellow foodie, Jodi Moreno of What’s Cooking Good Looking, we set out to make the absolute swooniest paella beach grill. We decided on a vegetable paella to support the plethora of local veggies that Amagansett farms grow in high season.
As for the décor, I kept things light, bright and simple, letting the surroundings guide the palette and allowing the natural beauty of the vast, sweeping views to take center stage.
We chose to grill on the bay beach, which somehow gets forgotten here in Amagansett – it’s usually desolate with vast stretches of sand and still waters to take in at dusk. You can see why I opted for neutrals: the breathtaking vista of the sun reflected off the bay, casting an incredible pink hue over the sky.
Some nibbles of olives, Marcona almonds, shishito peppers and rustic bread were set out as our paella cooked, getting crispy at the bottom as it traditionally should. And as our meal simmered to swoony perfection, Jodi and I poured lavender-infused rosé sangria, served with local fruit from Balsam Farm.
Oh, one last thing: As beautiful and breezy as these images appear, we were sticky and sweaty as we began to bring things down to the beach. A meal on the beach takes a lot of effort, so prep as much as you can at home to truly enjoy the experience as the day cools down – and don’t begin the actual grill until 5 or 6 p.m.
There really is something magical about eating a meal as the sun sets – the spectacular lighting, the beauty and stillness of the horizon, the soft breeze as we savored each crazy delish bite… Feasting with friends on the beach with this loose nod to Spain is the epitome of summertime swooning. Who needs Ibiza anyway?
There’s no denying the importance of a refreshing cocktail during the warm months of summer. I was inspired by memories of Cava sangria I sipped in Spain… sitting at a hidden seaside restaurant in late afternoon getting all giggly and boozy. Transitioning this sangria Stateside seemed like a swoony, and necessary, idea.
Enter rosé sangria: super crisp, chilled, refreshing and studded with local fruit!
But what launches this sangria to star status is the inclusion of a honey lavender-infused syrup! Jodi made this unexpected concoction, which boasts a subtle, yet fragrant flavor once it mingles with peak-season, farmstand-ripe apricots, juicy blueberries and slightly tart gooseberries.
Nothing expresses the joys of hot summer nights and unwinding with friends quite like a pitcher of sangria. And this rosé version is oh-so-simple: fresh seasonal fruit, simple syrup, and rosé – finished with a touch of soda water for effervescence.
It is guaranteed to refresh you on the hottest of summer days!
Rosé sangria with honey lavender syrup
For the honey lavender syrup:
¼ cup of honey
¼ cup of water
1 Tbsp of dried lavender
For the sangria:
1 cup of blueberries
4-6 apricots, pitted and sliced
1 bottle of rosé
1 liter of club soda
For the honey lavender syrup:
Place the honey and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil while whisking. Add the lavender and lower to a simmer.
Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.
Remove from the heat and strain the mixture into a heatproof container (such as a Mason jar). Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature before making the sangria.
To assemble the sangria:
Add the blueberries and apricots to a large pitcher, then pour in the bottle of rosé. Add the honey lavender syrup, and place in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend.
Right before serving, add the club soda to the sangria.
Pour into individual glasses over ice.
**It is best to make this several hours or a day before serving so the flavors have time to develop.