Spiked '90s Throwback: Strawberry Kiwi Sangria

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Strawberry kiwi is one of those throwback flavors that my ’90s-loving, Lisa Frank-Trapper Keeper-toting, denim-jacket-wearing, neon-hair-tie-sporting tween self went crazy over. If I’m not mistaken, it was surely one of the flavor trends that was everywhere — and as a millennial, I have it ingrained in my brain and scent memory forever.

Strawberry kiwi taffy, juice, candles or body lotion could be found in my life at any given moment back in 1995 — it was the scent to have. Right next to blue raspberry, of course, which could always turn your tongue and teeth the most-beautiful shade of sky. The artificial strawberry kiwi was sickly sweet, something that my young self adored and craved, in taste and smell. It was barely reminiscent of actual kiwi and strawberry, though; it was more like a bowl of kiwi and strawberry piled with sugar and set out to macerate for three days.

I didn’t hate it! In fact, I was nuts over it.

Somewhere along the line, we moved to things like cucumber melon and watermelon cantaloupe, but those never grasped me quite like the good old strawberry kiwi.

So I had to take this flavor and run with it. I’ve played with the combination over the years, making a strawberry kiwi fruit pizza and even skewering pound cake slices between kiwi and strawberries, but I knew exactly where the next adventure would take me: booze. Strawberry kiwi sangria, to be exact!

While I love the traditional sangria made with red wine, in the summer I tend to gravitate toward the white versions — ones made with sparkling wine, chardonnay or even Pinot Grigio. I love how crisp and fresh they taste, especially when mixed with a bit of soda or ginger beer. I also really enjoy how berries and other “summery” fruit tastes when submerged in the white wine.

It’s refreshing and light, perfect on a super-hot summer day. But it’s also perfect for these first days of spring, where the temps will rise midday in a nice surprise and you’ll find yourself out on the patio sipping a bit of bubbly with friends. (That’s the best kind of day, right?)

Strawberry Kiwi Sangria

Serves 4 to 6

2 pints strawberries, some chopped and some left whole

4 kiwi fruit, sliced

2 limes, sliced

1 (standard 750 milliliter) bottle of dry white wine, like Chardonnay

1 cup fruit juice, like pineapple or orange

1 cup club soda

1/2 cup brandy

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

Combine all ingredients together in a large pitcher, jar or bowl and stir, stir, stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so (or longer!) before serving. Taste, and if it’s too sweet for you, add a bit more soda or dry wine. If you let this sit overnight, it will turn a pretty shade of pink!

To serve, add some of the soaked fruit in a glass with crushed ice, and pour the sangria over it!