Monday, June 14, 2010


Occasionally it's nice to make drinks in a big pitcher and work on it over the course of an evening or weekend afternoon. It gives one the opportunity to relax and enjoy several rounds without having to constantly labor after each. I suppose there are several cocktails that lend themselves to be made in large quantities. On a couple of occasions, I've made mojitos that way. But there are certain drinks that especially lend themselves to being made by the batch. One of them is sangria.

The first time I've made sangria was a couple of years ago and I haven't made any since. This is one of those drinks that has an infinite number of incarnations. First, one has to decide whether to use red or white wine. Then decide which times of fruit to incorporate. Then decide which sweetening agent (if any) to add. It's really up to the mixologist to decide. I spent a fair bit of time researching several recipes to determine which one appealed to me and my tastes. I couldn't find the recipe I used a couple years ago but I found one that is similar. I'll link to it here but post it anyway.
Red Wine Sangria
adapted from
-1 orange
-1 lemon-1 lime
-1 medium apple, sliced
-1 cup pitted cherries
-1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
-3/4 cup brandy
-1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
-1 (12 ounce) can lemon-lime soda to taste
-1 cup orange juice to taste

Slice the orange, lemon and lime into thin rounds. Place the citrus in a pitcher with the apples cherries and pineapple. Pour in the brandy and refrigerate for two hours or more. Chill the bottle of red wine, lemon-lime soda and orange juice at the same time.
Gently crush the fruits with a spoon, then stir in the red wine, lemon-lime soda and orange juice. Add additional brandy or orange juice to taste.

I've found that a dry red wine does complement the sweetness, but a wine with a bit of a spice helps as well. It gives the sangria a little complexity it might not otherwise have.

Part of me abhors this recipe for its use of lemon-lime soda, but there is a certain simplicity to its use that is appropriate to the spirit of the recipe. It's a simple way to incorporate the sweetness, citrus and effervescence into the drink and only using one ingredient. For such elegance, I'm willing to overlook its prepackaged nature.

I tried to put the cherries, apples and pineapple at the bottom of the pitcher while it was chilling so it would soak up more brandy. I figured I would be more likely to eat those things than the citrus.

I've been fortunate enough to attempt this recipe twice in the past week. I hadn't intended on it, but a whole pineapple produces much more than a cup; and I bought a big package of cherries. It would have been preferable if cherries were in season; they would have been fresher and cheaper. But in these less than ideal circumstances, I had to buy a big bag and it would have been a shame not to take advantage of this bounty. I found that cutting the apples and citrus thicker made it easier to work with the second time around. The thinly cut citrus tended to fall apart when stirred or transferred to a glass.

The nice part about this summer drink is that all the labor is done up front, which means that you're free to enjoy the sun and perhaps some pleasant company. My favorite part of mixing drinks and cocktails has always been the social aspect that comes with it. There is an aspect of fruit infusion involved which means that the garnish is taken care of by just pouring the fruit into the glass. All that's left for you to do is enjoy.

1 comment:

Anne Keefe said...

I can attest to the wonderfulness of this Sangria and everything that went into it (including the surrounding stories of the infamous cherry shorts).
A job well done, good job sir!

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