Fruit and Fresh Herb Carafe
One day while dining at one of my favorite Tuscan restaurants, I mentioned to the chef, Cesare Casella, that I remembered having a drink in Italy where fruit was crushed with herbs to which liquor and Prosecco sparkling wine was added. He wasted no time going behind the bar to make a batch, saying that he'd always had such a drink which he called "Carafe" on the menu of his family's restaurant, Vipore, in Lucca, Italy. This is my version of what Cesare made for me that day. Choose the freshest, ripest available fruit.
- 4 cups fresh fruit, such as sliced peaches or strawberries
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 5 sprigs fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- 3/4 cup vodka
- 1 bottle (750 mL) Italian sparkling wine, such as prosecco or Lambrusco, chilled
- Place the fruit, sugar, and basil in a large pitcher. Using a wooden spoon, crush the mixture until it forms a rough mash. Stir in the vodka. Just before serving, pour the prosecco over the mixture and serve immediately over ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.