Saturday, 6 July 2013

Sangria... Which is French for "Summer Afternoon Drink in Montreal"

Actually, it's a play on the Spanish word for "blood" (sangre), because of the dark red color. But in Montreal, we like to bastardize language...

We did not really have the luxury of spring this year, did we? We had winter, and then it was so hot one could barely deal with their clothes... I used to feel weirdly girly about all those sun dresses in my closet, but at this specific moment, I have never been so grateful for them! The weather is so insane that if they weren't there, I'd be running around naked. Yeah for sun dresses!

Now, I am sure everyone reading this has drank some sangria on a sun-soaked terrace at some point in their lives. If not, please, come to Montreal and do it. Like now. If you have been a sangria drinker, you have probably experienced both delicious sangria, and nasty sangria. Obviously, the best way to avoid the nasty stuff is to make it yourself! Sangria is a very easy beverage to make, and let's face it, everyone loves a nice glass of cold sangria!

This recipe is just about as healthy and tasty as you get considering it's wine punch. I made it up on a particularly hot and sticky Montreal summer day with my friend Paul (for whom I made jerk chicken on his birthday). We wanted a drink, but neither of us could stand the idea of heavy beer or room-temperature red wine, so we got everything we needed to whip up some sangria and experimented...

The first thing I realized was that ice cubes are a bad idea: they will dilute your sangria until it tastes bland, so avoid it and simply refrigerate your magic wine potion until it's cool enough to enjoy! Also, do not waste your money on a high grade red wine: you will be mixing it with all kinds of stuff, so it's actual taste will be lost. Just make sure it's dry red wine: the mix of sugar, sweet alcohol and citrus fruit requires a strongly flavored wine to avoid your sangria turning into an excessively sweet syrup.

Also, I highly recommend that you use carbonated water (flavored or not); that way, you have a better control of how much sugar you are ingesting, because the typical blends, which include lemonade mix and/or Sprite, 7Up or other sodas, will also include the corn syrup and other unspeakable horrors those beverages contain to your sangria. This is also why I use cane sugar, and not confectioner's sugar... I like to know what I put in my body, even if that stuff ends up getting me tipsy.

It turns out the bar-tending classes I took about 5 years ago are occasionally very useful! I kinda eyeballed the whole thing and it turned out so tasty we just... drank the whole thing... *whistles innocently* Technically, this should make enough to get 4 people tipsy, but yeah, Paul and I are... weird that way... We DID share a couple of glasses with his boyfriend... Anyhoo, here is the recipe!

1 orange, finely sliced
1 lemon, finely sliced
1 lime, finely sliced
1 cup cane sugar
1 to 1 1/2 cup spiced rum (but you could use other hard alcohol you like, such as brandy, gin, Southern Comfort, etc.)
1 cup orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed, but high-quality juice with pulp also works beautifully)
1 bottle dry red wine (preferably Spanish wine)
2 cup carbonated water (flavored to taste; we used lime flavored carbonated water, but lemon, tangerine or berry flavored would also work)

Optional: a handful of any kind of berries you might want to add to this: strawberries, raspberries, cherries, etc.

Put the sliced citrus fruits in a 3 liters-pitcher or punch bowl (you can save a few slices to garnish your glasses).

Add the cane sugar and rum and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Let it rest for approximately 5 minutes, for the flavors to mix and for the fruits to get soaked in the rum. Add the orange juice, red wine and carbonated water (and berries, if using) and refrigerate until cold. Serve with some citrus fruit slices and fresh berries.

Some people add sliced apples or peaches, or melon or mango chunks to their sangria. That's fine, if it floats your boat, but if you prefer those fruits to citrus, try using white wine instead of red, and adding a stick of cinnamon and a whole star anise to your pitcher, for some sangria blanca!

This sangria tasted really lovely: the sweetness of the sugar and rum was perfectly balanced with the acidity of the orange juice and red wine. It was very refreshing, but be warned! It's very potent, and you do not taste the alcohol in it... which really makes it the ultimate summer drink, if you ask me!

Paul and I sat on his balcony, sipping away and listening to the Civil Wars, and it was glorious. And since the weather is finally properly summer-y, I am sure you will find plenty of occasions to share a pitcher of this delicious sangria with your friends! It would be the perfect drink to go with some juicy burgers (made with meat or portobello mushrooms) or some fajitas.

Have a great summer everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post!!! Planning to offer some Sangria this weekend at our baby shower party :)