Sangria days of summer

Some folks can't handle their sangria. (Image distorted to protect the rebelliously drunk individual.)

I’m not exactly sure when the idea first hit me that I wanted to drink sangria. I mean, technically, I’m not a wine guy … and I had only had sangria once before, and that was my fraternity’s homecoming celebration and my friend Corey and I drank 2 carafes of it. But, one thing I do know — beer and I don’t always get along in summer. A lot of times, it’s too hot for me to drink beer — and if I do drink it, I feel miserable. So, obviously I needed a different drink. Mixed drinks were always an option, as were margaritas. But I wanted something that took a little less work than margaritas, and something that wouldn’t leave me trashed like mixed drinks. Sangria seemed to be the best option available.

Again, having never made it, I reached out to friends for recipes. And I got quite a few. So, I’ve decided to try them and then share them here. Please bear in mind, these aren’t supposed to be hardcore traditional … it’s an exercise in having fun and experimenting with different flavors and tastes.

The first came from my friend Jenny O., who I’ve known since my Florida days. Here it is:

It'll do, pig. It'll do.

Ingredients: You’ll need a decent size pitcher.

2 limes, 2 lemons, 2 oranges

1 apple (red delicious) cut into small edible chunks.

1 can of club soda, 1 bottle of Tempranillo Wine or Rioja. (Cheap Spanish Wine – the best to use for sangria. Don’t substitute.)
Mix sugar with juice from 1 lemon in pitcher. Cut other lemon into 1/4″ moon slices and add to pitcher. Add juice from 1 lime and add. Cut other lime into 1/4″ moon slices. Same thing with the Orange. Add diced up apples to mixture. Add entire bottle of Wine, mix well. Let sit overnight. Add 1 cup club soda (or more depending on taste) and mix.

This seemed pretty straight forward. I went and got a gallon pitcher, and a bottle of Tempranillo/Cabernet since my local liquor store only carried pricey tempranillo rioja.

I pretty much did all of this except add sugar. The reason is because I figured with all the fruit, adding sugar would make it too sweet for me to drink. I don’t have a sweet tooth, and really sweet/sugary things make me want to gag. Also, I juiced 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime in my juicer. Lastly, since I was heading over to my friend @pantster’s place, I figured I could grab club soda at Sheetz. No dice. Had to opt for Sprite Zero.

The results?

Batch number 1.

Here’s my observations:

  1. The cut up fruit of 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime took up a lot more space in the pitcher than I thought. When I added the wine, it barely topped the fruit. You can see it in the pitcher — it’s almost packed in.
  2. The cut up fruit should have been peeled. We found ourselves snacking on the fruit, but the lime? That got pitched. Same with the lemon. The apple and orange got devoured.
  3. Honestly, it felt like I shoulda had 1.5 or 2 bottles of wine in there. Now I see why other recipes call for brandy.
  4. I think club soda would have been a better choice than flavored stuff. Next time, club soda. Definitely.

Overall, this was pretty tasty. Despite my outlining what changes I would make, I would have no problems drinking this again, as is.

For my first attempt, I’ll give it a B. Good, but with room for improvement.


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