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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Sangria

Go on … You can’t fool me-e-e! Admit that you want it! You need it! You c-r-r-ave it! But let’s discuss sex another time. This is about Sangria, with all its quirks and charms. There are times when nothing can beat Sangria’s sweet, summery taste, especially when it’s served in a tall, cool glass. Wanting, needing, and craving it is quite understandable.

En route to Ronny's

Sangria is a drink by which memories are made. In Costa Rica not so long ago, Ron and I stumbled across a sign directing us to Ronny’s Place, which is renowned for its fruit-filled Sangria. Thinking we’d give it a try, we shared the road with a skittish herd of cattle that gauchos on horseback prodded to higher pastures. Ronny’s was a hard pull up a long, steep hill, but we eventually made it. 

Overlooking the magnificent jungle in which monkeys swung in the trees and exotic birds called to us, Ronny’s did not disappoint. Another and another Sangria would have been nice, but the hill was no less steep coming down and we wisely drank just one. 

Tomorrow, I’ll relate a very different story about the perils of Sangria, but this one will do, for now. I’ve decided that this will be a Sangria Weekend (Olé!), with my four favorite recipes for same - two of them made with red wine, two of them made with white. Today’s recipe is a lip-smacking Summer Sangria. Thursday’s is a terrific Sangria Blanca. Friday’s Citrus Sangria is a slightly more elaborate version of Thursday’s. Because I know you love cranberries, Saturday’s Cranberry Sangria will prepare you to make your selection for the weekend.

Although I’ve made and tested each of these recipes in years past, forgive me for not preparing and photographing pitchers of each as my recipes run day-by-day. Sangria makes a great party drink, but Ron and I would be under the table - not to mention under-the-weather - if we glug-glugged four different pitchers of Sangria all by ourselves. I love red wine, so let’s start with this very easy recipe!

Summer Sangria:

½ c. granulated sugar
1 c. water
1 c. brandy 
One 26-oz. (750 mL) bottle of dry, red wine
1 sliced orange, unpeeled
1 sliced lemon, unpeeled
Ice cubes, as required
Club soda, chilled, as required
Lemon or lime, unpeeled, as garnish

In the morning, boil sugar and water together in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Stir in brandy and wine. Pour into large pitcher. Add fruit and marinate all day. To serve, add three or four ice cubes to a tall glass, pouring half full of fruit marinade and topping with club soda. If desired, perch a slice of unpeeled lemon or lime at the edge of the glass.

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