I come from a family of wine enthusiasts. They aren't the kind of wine enthusiasts that are snobbish about wine or the kind that spend a lot of time talking about 'bouquets' or 'end notes' or 'mouth-feel'. They don't buy really expensive wine...almost everyone in my family makes their own wine. They just like wine and drink wine. Often.
In that respect, I'm the a-typical one. It's not that I don't like wine, I just don't drink it as often as the rest of them. I can even go months without it. I have my vices, but wine is not one of them.
With all that said, lately, I've been craving sangria. I enjoyed an amazing pitcher of sangria on a patio in Yorkville, while out for drinks with colleagues recently. Ever since, I've had a hankering to make my own.
I've canvassed some of my foodie friends for recipes and I've done some research. From what I've found you really can't go wrong. You must have wine, you must have fruit and you must have fruit juice, but other than that, the options for sangria ingredients are many and varied. Which wine, fruit or juice you use is up to you. Some recipes call for brandy, some add soda water, some even include gin! It seems to come down to personal preference and your sense of adventure.
I gave it my first try yesterday. My in-laws came for dinner to celebrate my husband's birthday. It was a beautiful summer evening so we ate outside. The sangria was a big hit.
So, if you are looking for something fruity and fresh to sip on the patio, here's my recipe. It's a hybrid of several recipes I found online, and one from my friend Dana (stay tuned for a post about her etsy site soon!).
2 bottles dry red wine (I chose a Spanish Rioja...it's sangria after all)
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple-sec
1 cup orange juice
1 cup mango juice
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 oranges, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 limes, sliced
2 apples sliced
a couple handfuls of cherries, pitted and sliced in half
club soda (optional)
ice....lots of ice
In a (very) large pitcher (I suppose you could use a soup pot if you don't have a large pitcher) mix the wine, brandy, triple sec and juice. Add all the sliced fruit.
Stir. (see? this is really not hard).
Some of the recipes I saw called for sugar or simple syrup (basically sugar water). I didn't add any, but if you like it sweeter you could...or you could just add more juice. Refrigerate. Some recipes said you have to let it sit for 24 hours. I only had 3, but it was still lovely. I had some of the leftovers today and it was also good. If you have time, let it sit. If you don't...well, it'll be fine.
Fill the glasses with ice, and pour in the chilled sangria. If you want a fizzy version, add the club soda.