Last year, I gave my dad sangria for Father’s Day. He loves sangria, so I thought I’d make it a yearly thing. This time around though, I was also trying to sneak something by him. Instead of using sugar in the sangria, I used Monk Fruit In The Raw, a natural substitute. My father is diabetic, and Monk Fruit In The Raw is diabetic friendly (according to their website, “Monk Fruit In The Raw contains less than one gram of carbohydrates (by food exchange measure) and may be used in conjunction with food programs for people with diabetes as well as with guidelines for people with diabetes who use carbohydrate counting.”)
Now, I understand sangria in itself is not exactly diabetic friendly. But he is able to enjoy a glass or two once a year. The real reason I am trying the Monk Fruit In The Raw within the sangria is to see if he can taste a difference. You see, not only is he diabetic, but he is what some refer to as a “super taster.” He can tell you the secret ingredient in a recipe, and knows whether a wine is worth drinking. But, boy can he be picky too.
Unlike stevia, which leaves behind an aftertaste, Monk Fruit should be undetectable. So this is the first test to see if I can sneak Monk Fruit In The Raw into future recipes for my dad. So what is a Monk Fruit? Monk Fruit is a vine-ripened fruit found in Asia that kind of resembles a tiny watermelon. Monk Fruit In The Raw is made from Monk Fruit extract, which is about 300 times (!) sweeter than sugar. To make it measurable for consumption, dextrose (a natural bulking agent) is blended with the extract. Monk Fruit In The Raw also comes in a Bakers Bag, which is measurable cup-for-cup like sugar (in volume, not weight). The Bakers Bag contains Maltodextrin, which is also a natural bulking agent, that does not change the flavor of the sweetener. I used the Bakers Bag for this recipe.
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (~3 oranges)
- 1 bottle Rioja wine
- 1/4 cup Monk Fruit In The Raw (Bakers Bag)
- 1 apple, cored and sliced
- 1 orange, thinly sliced and quartered
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 limes, thinly sliced
- club soda, to taste
I squeezed three oranges to get about 1/2 cup orange juice for this recipe. You can buy orange juice, but be sure to read the label because it may contain added sugars. Add the fresh squeezed orange juice to a large pitcher.
Add the brandy.
Add the Monk Fruit In The Raw and mix to combine.
Fill with the wine and stir to combine.
Add to the refrigerator while you slice your fruit. Add the fruit to the wine mixture and refrigerate for at least an hour.
When ready to serve, pour into individual glasses and top with club soda.
Because my mom and I were aware that it was in there, I’m going to be honest and admit it does have a slight aftertaste like other sugar alternatives, but it could have been because we were searching for it. Also, in a recipe like this, the Monk Fruit was the only source of sweetness so there was nothing to “hide it.” I also think there might be a difference using normal Monk Fruit In The Raw rather than the Bakers Bag. I will test this out this week and report back!
Because my dad didn’t notice it was in there, I can try to incorporate it into different recipes to see if he notices. Expect a few posts in the upcoming months to work with Monk Fruit In The Raw to help my dad make even better dietary considerations!