Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cold Drinks for Hot Summer Nights

Crisp, Fruity Sangria

Nothing cools off a steamy summer evening like a refreshing, fruity pitcher of Sangria.  The drink originates from Spain and is served in many Mexican restaurants, but you can mix up a pitcher at home in just minutes.

Start with a bottle of red or white wine.  Mr. Walt Churchill helped me select a Spanish wine from his store's collection.  “With Sangria, you don’t need an expensive wine because the other flavors enhance it,” he advised.

For a sweeter Sangria, start with a sweeter wine.  Not so sweet, start with a dry wine.  For an extra kick of flavor, add a splash of brandy, rum or flavored schnapps.

Slice up some fruit - limes, oranges, apples, peaches, berries - whatever you love or whatever’s in season.  For more sweetness, stir in a few tablespoons of sugar or honey.  Feel free to experiment - there's no wrong way to make Sangria.

Chill for several hours or overnight to allow the fruit to soak in the liquid and the flavors can meld.  For a little fizz, add some club soda or sparkling water right before serving.  Pour over ice, sip and enjoy!

Peach-Blackberry Sangria
1 bottle red Spanish table wine, chilled
1 ½ cups peach puree, from fresh peaches
1 cup peach brandy
¼ cup simple syrup, chilled
1 cup fresh blackberries
2 ripe peaches, halved, pitted and sliced, plus more for garnish
Ice cubes

In a pitcher, combine the wine, peach puree, brandy, syrup, blackberries and sliced peaches.  Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Serve the sangria over ice in red wine goblets.  Garnish the goblets with sliced peaches.
(Recipe from Bobby Flay via

White Strawberry Sangria
1 bottle dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
½ cup strawberry schnapps
¼ cup sugar
2 cups sliced, fresh strawberries
Ice cubes
Whole strawberries for garnish
In a 2-quart pitcher, stir together wine, schnapps and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Add sliced strawberries. Cover and chill for 1 to 4 hours.  Serve in glasses over ice.  Garnish with whole strawberries.(Recipe from

Have a great week!

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