Thursday, October 30, 2014

Classic Red Wine Sangria

As I write this entry, I am probably already tipsy. What better way to start your day than to wake up to some booze laced with your daily serving of fruits and vitamin-C? (Alright, keep moderation in mind, guys. Especially those who went to bed over booze.) Joke aside, I am ecstatic as I whip up this giant pitcher of classic Sangria because not only is it a breathtakingly glorious day out today (good weather should never be taken granted for), my long-anticipated leave is also nearing on the horizon. I may not have a travel buddy this time, so to take advantage of my week and a half off, I am considering to take up a challenge, to learn something completely new and wild - and it might just be surfing in Bali. Stay tuned for updates!

Order a glass of Sangria at a bar or restaurant, it may set you back a hefty bunch. Make it at home, and you will soon realize that this traditional Spanish favorite costs little more than the wine you choose. It requires no mixological skills - only time in the cooler to allow flavors to mingle.

Sangria is peculiarly forgiving when it comes to variations in ingredients. Add more juice or soda for a sweeter drink, go easy on the brandy, or tip in other fruits such as peaches and halved grapes. Use fresh, quality orange juice or squeeze your own, none of that concentrate crap.

People tend to think of Sangria as a summer drink, but in fact it is just as delightful any other day, at a party, weekend brunch, or a cozy candlelight dinner like tonight with close friends. One does not need a reason to celebrate with Sangria.

To prepare...
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine (I used an Australian Shiraz) 
Orange juice of two oranges, freshly squeezed (approx. 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup brandy
1 tablespoon Simple Syrup*, or more to taste (*equal parts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves, cooled)
1 apple, Granny Smith or Pink Lady, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces 
Orange and lemon slices
1 can of lemon-lime soda (optional)
Fresh mint sprigs

In a pitcher, combine the red wine, orange juice, brandy, simple syrup, and fruit. Stir to combine and refrigerate until drink is chilled and flavors are blended, 4 hours up to overnight. Serve over ice and garnish with sprigs of mint. Add soda if desired.
Any hour is happy hour with a pitcher of Sangria. Salud!
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