It’s spring and strawberry season is upon us. In fact, one of my friends turned two gallons of berries into umpteen jars of preserves yesterday. Hope she is planning to share them with friends! (Hint, hint)
Today’s recipe comes from one of my longtime Oklahoma friends. She made these for a Bunco party and they were a hit. Even better, you aren’t limited to strawberry season to make them; a package of frozen berries will work just as well. Perfect for a brunch or gathering with girls. (Hey maybe I’ll rustle up a pitcher when Dallas debuts next month…you need an all-star lineup of food for a watch party, right?)
Cheryl’s Strawberry Spritzers
2 pints berries, (or 3 10-ounce packages frozen berries, thawed but cold)
1/2 cup sugar
1 24-ounce bottle white grape juice, chilled
1 28-ounce bottle club soda or other plain carbonated water, chilled
1 liter (or 16 ounces) Sprite or other lemon-lime beverage, chilled (can use diet)
If using fresh berries, clean and coarsely chop berries; blend with half-cup of sugar and refrigerate for at least an hour. Frozen berries can be thawed by placing in refrigerator the day before. Blend 2/3 of the berries in a blender until smooth. In a punch bowl combine berry puree, juice, water and Sprite and remaining chopped or sliced berries as a garnish. Serve immediately. (For casual gatherings, pour over crushed ice to keep each glass cold.) Makes 24 4-ounce( punch cup) servings, 18 6-ounce servings or 12 8-ounce servings. If you use regular Sprite and berries in heavy syrup, the calorie count is around 30 cals per 4-ounce serving. Fresh or plain berries and diet soda reduce the calories to a fraction of that.
A little lagniappe: For even more festiveness, add sprigs of mint to each cup. Or add lemon juice and simple syrup (to taste) and create strawberry-lemonade spritzers; garnish with thin twists of lemon.