The start of summer means one thing in my house – sangria! And I’m not talking about that pre-made stuff either. My girlfriends and I often get together on my patio for yummy drinks and food, and on those nights, the laughter can probably be heard in the next County. Not to toot my own horn, but on Sangria Nights, there certainly aren’t any leftovers! Whether it’s red or white, both sangrias look so pretty and festive and can be served with most types of food. Try it with steaks, seafood or even set up a Taco Bar. Your friends will thank you for making these delicious treats!
I do my best work in the kitchen when I’m not following a true recipe, but I’ll attempt to guide you through it. Trust me, this may become your favorite summertime drink!
Take one bottle of Spanish red wine and pour into a glass pitcher. A pitcher or carafe with a lid works especially well but is not necessary (Walmart sells them for around $5). What is necessary though is using something made of glass so that you can feast with your eyes. If your liquor store has someone fairly knowledgeable about wines, ask them which one they would use. I typically use something that is medium bodied, not too dry, not too sweet. No need to spend a lot either. Then add whatever brandy you like – I use E&J – about three quarters of a cup or so. Throw in 2 cinnamon sticks and a cup to a cup and one half of a variety of fruit, whatever is in season. Plums work well, as do blackberries, strawberries, Granny Smith apples, grapes, whatever floats your boat. The fruit should be cut up into bite size pieces but it is fine to leave the skin on. The cinnamon is a crucial ingredient so don’t skip it. It adds a spicy little bite that is perfect with the fruit. Let the mixture sit overnight in the frig. When you are ready to serve add a heavy splash of soda like 7 Up or even Sprite and serve in large wine glasses with or without ice.
For the white Sangria, I have used Pazo’s house wine which is available at various liquor stores. But again, you can use whatever wine you like. Don’t be afraid to experiment – there is no way to ruin sangria! The recipe for the white is the same as for the red sangria, but for this one I use peach brandy instead of the plain variety and don’t add the cinnamon. The fruits can be nectarines, grapes, apples, even pineapple. I don’t ever use canned fruit, only fresh. But be careful – the fruit seems to absorb the liquor and can pack quite a punch.