Holiday parties in the northern climes typically feature belly-warming tipples such as warm, fragrant mulled wine or rich, creamy eggnog; however, as I mentioned in my previous post about arrollado primavera, many here in Argentina prefer to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with lighter food and drink given the hot and humid temperatures at this time of year. To that end, one of the most popular beverages here around the holidays is a light and refreshing drink known as clericot (sometimes spelled clericó).
Clericot was popularized in Argentina and Uruguay by the British (read more about the British influence in Argentina). Originally known as “claret cup,” this summertime drink featured claret (red) wine, sugar, lemon juice and carbonated water. Recipes were then personalized to include liqueurs, fruits, spices, etc. The story goes that the drink was invented by British expats living in the Punjab region of India during the mid-nineteenth century. Looking for a beverage to tame the heat, the British whipped up this sweet and fruity concoction, and thus the claret cup was born. When the British arrived in Argentina with their refreshing drink, Spanish speakers modified the pronunciation of claret cup to clericot.
These days, the Argentine version of clericot generally contains white wine instead of red. Similar to white sangria, a basic clericot features chunks of in-season fruits, a nice white wine, and a touch of sugar. I like to use a Torrontés, as this is the signature white grape of Argentina. The beauty of a recipe like this is that you can feel free to play around with the ingredients and make it your own. Choose whichever fruits look best at the market and adjust the recipe to your preferences.
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1 peach, diced
1 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 pear, diced
1 tangerine, peeled and sliced in half moons
a large handful of strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Tbsp. sugar
100mL club soda/seltzer water
50mL triple sec or Cointreau liqueur
750mL bottle of chilled white wine (preferably a Torrontés)
In a large pitcher, add the fruit and then sprinkle it with the sugar. Allow the fruit to macerate for at least 10 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. Serve in a highball glass with ice.