Many years ago, I was planning a Latin inspired feast and knew that I had to serve sangria. Off to the liquor store I went. (Yes, you read this correctly. I live in a RED state with antiquated liquor laws. No Trader Joe’s here and no buying adult beverages at the local grocery store. But, enough of this rant.) As I approached the counter with two big bottles of sangria, the clerk looked me square in the eye and said, “I can’t let you buy that.”
OK, I was flattered but I knew I looked WAY over twenty-one. What was the problem? “You can make your own and it will be much better.” She quickly grabbed some paper and jotted down a recipe.
I think the original recipe called for burgundy and brandy and orange juice. I have tweaked the recipe over the years and have come up with what I call “Sittin’ on the Patio Sangria.” I never make the same batch twice because it is all about the fruit, fruit juice, and wine that you have on hand. But, this is the recipe I always start with (at least for the first round)!
Sittin’ on the Patio Sangria
1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon (about 3 1/4 c.)
½ liter White Zinfandel (about 2 c.)
3 oz. brandy
Juice of one lemon
1 ¼ c. orange juice (Or use any fruit juice you have on hand. I have used everything from orange to grapefruit to cranberry juice to Pom.)
1/2 c. simple syrup (I like to infuse mine with mint.)
1 peach, sliced
1 apricot, sliced
½ cup fresh blackberries
½ cup fresh strawberries, quartered
Mint for garnish
Club soda, optional
Mix first seven ingredients in pitcher. Chill for one hour (or as long as you can manage!) Prepare fruit. Fruit may be used as garnishes for glasses or added to sangria. Garnish each glass with mint leaves. If using club soda, just top of the glasses with a bit of soda after the sangria is poured.
On a really hot day when we are spending the day grilling out and relaxing, I will add a half-liter of club soda to the entire pitcher.
Use whatever fruit is seasonal. In the dead of winter, I throw in frozen cherries, blueberries and strawberries. This beverage is a great accompaniment to the small plates I have been featuring like Black Bean Hummus and Rosemary Spiced Almonds.