Tiny martini glasses: cute presentation, or painfully twee?*
I was immediately drawn to this recipe – if you can call it that, it’s so simple I don’t know if it rises to the level of “recipe” – because frozen grapes have always been one of my favorite summer snacks. And if I love frozen grapes, and soaking grapes in booze will make them better, then Newton’s 5th Transitive Rule of Snacks dictates that wine-soaked, frozen grapes should be fan-fucking-tastic. Newton’s actual words.
*Even though I took these photos, I’m going to have to go with “twee.”
It seems odd to marinate a grape, doesn’t it? Seeing as how they’re totally encased in, you know, skin.
Bon Appetit had to add some auxiliary ingredients to the grapes, because they know they can’t pass off a “recipe” for wine-marinated grapes that literally contains only wine and grapes. I mean, they have to convince people to pay for the magazine containing these recipes, right? So they threw in some sugar and lemon zest.
So, into a large pitcher went a bottle of white wine, a pound and a half of seedless green grapes, a few tablespoons of zest and a quarter-cup of sugar. I freely admit that I had no idea what kind of wine it was, other than “white wine that someone once brought to a party and we never ended up drinking.” Looking at the bottle now I see that it was a 2006 California Sauvignon Blanc, for those for whom that means something.
I let my grapes sit in the fridge for 24 hours, occasionally shaking the pitcher to make myself feel like I was actually doing something. After the soak, I scooped the grapes out of the pitcher, tossed them with a few more tablespoons of sugar and stuck them in the freezer. The wine, I poured back into its original bottle, corked up and put in the fridge.
The tiny glasses! The rectangular plate! Squeee!
The grapes took but a few hours to freeze, so later that night I was munching on them and drinking a sweet wine spritzer made from the marinade.
There’s a reason that Newton guy is so famous – these grapes are really fucking good. The booze is more pronounced if you don’t freeze them (I’d tasted a few before leaving them to chill), but the frozen version still has a hint of the wine, along with a boozey, sweet, sticky coating that really puts them over the top. The lemon zest really cuts through as well, adding a contrasting bright note as well as a complementary floral one.
Much as I enjoy the grapes, the leftover wine marinade is my favorite part. You wouldn’t think that grapes could impart additional flavor to something that’s already made from grapes, but you’d be wrong. They lend their fresh fruit flavor in a subtle but noticeable way, and along with the lemon turn the wine into a very light sangria that is fantastically refreshing with a splash of club soda. On one hand, I want to invite a bunch of people over for a garden party and serve these cocktails; on the other, I want to horde all the wine for myself. It’s that good.
The non-frozen grapes would be a great addition to the munchies for a cocktail party or fruit and cheese plate, while the frozen versions beg to be plunked into a glass of champagne. You could easily mix the “recipe” up by varying the type of wine, type of grape, type of citrus or amount of flavoring; adding fresh herbs – maybe some rosemary? – to the marinade could also be really good and would definitely make for an intriguing cocktail.
I’m not going to write out an actual recipe because really, if you can’t figure it out from the description or the link, then you’ve already had enough to drink and probably should be staying away from additional alcoholic beverages.