Sangría Olé!

Summertime is synonymous with Sangría. This is Spain's original invention of the wine cooler. Americans have not improved upon it by putting it in a bottle. The best sangrías are home made. Everytime I make mine, it comes out different, because I just open the fridge and the pantry and use what I've got on hand.

Traditionally, sangría is made with red wine, but it can use white wine just as well. The trick is to start with a bottle of wine that you like. It does not have to be expensive, but it's got to be a wine that is pleasing to your palate. Jug wines are fine--as long as you like the taste of it. For a thirsty crew, you'll need:

 1 bottle                    wine (750 ml)
 2 slices                    oranges, limes and lemons
 2 cups                      orange juice (or some kind of fruit juice, but not grapefruit)
 2-4 cups                    of a mixer (can be squirt, cranapple juice, tropicana sparkling
                                 flavored waters, club soda, seven-up...whatever's on hand)
 1/2 cup                     triple sec
 1/4 cup                     brandy

I like to use a nice heavy glass pitcher so you can see the mixture in it. Pour in your wine, then add the rest of your ingredients. Do not add ice to the pitcher. That will water it down. Let the flavors mingle a bit in the fridge. Actually, it can keep for a few days in the fridge and still taste fine.

When you go to serve it, place several ice cubes in a tall glass and pour the sangía over. Garnish with a slice of orange or a sprig of mint from your herb garden. Sit back and relax with a big olé.

Now why is this so much better when you make it yourself? It only takes a few minutes to throw a pitcher together.... and the ingredients are fresh and mixed to your taste. It won't be too sweet or too dry and it's your creation--that's the most important. Enjoy. And as always, a good cook appreciates nature and what it has to offer.