You didn’t think I’d let Cinco de Mayo (and my birthday, ahem!) go by without a cocktail to celebrate with, did you?
Some years ago, my mom and I would take advantage of our every other Friday off and do things together. Activities often included wine-tasting and wine-drinking. Plenty of people thought this was a bit odd because they couldn’t imagine doing these things with their mothers, but since my mom could out-party me any day of the week and likes Sublime and Mary J. Blige, it kind of goes with the territory. And (sorry, Mom), she’s not young enough where she should know any of those singers. Don’t tell her I told you, but she’s about to hit the big 6-0. Shhh… (Andy warned me I’d pay for that when he proof-read this.)
On one of those glorious days off, we became obsessed with finding the perfect sangria. We tried many different recipes, but none were just right. We were the Goldilocks of sangria…one was too sweet, one was too weak, one had too much fruit. I like fruit as much as the next guy, but I don’t want to eat my sangria. Over several weeks, we systematically tried recipe after recipe, enjoying the sun and our very important “research.” Eventually, it became clear that we needed to take matters into our own hands and make our own. I suppose we could have come to that conclusion sooner if we hadn’t been so committed to drinking the rejects. What? They weren’t that bad.
The concoction that we ended up with is my favorite sangria recipe ever. I know that’s a bold statement, but I’ve tried many and always come back to this one. Maybe I am a teeny bit biased, but I think you’ll like it a whole lot.
1.5 liters red wine (I use Carlo Rossi Sangria)
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or another mild white)
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
slices of limes, lemons, oranges (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice.
(Note: I only had 1/4 cup of triple sec for this batch, so I threw in a 1/4 cup of limoncello to make up for it. Winner!)
Could that be any easier? This is my go-to drink for large parties. It’s simple, fairly inexpensive, and can be made for the masses ahead of time. Using the pre-made sangria gives you a head start on flavor, with the other additions giving it even more of a kick. A warning: this is a dangerous drink…before you know it you’ve knocked back four or five (okay, or six) in the span of an hour and are waking up wondering where the party went. Not that I know from experience.
Another thing I may or may not know from experience: don’t buy two four-liter jugs of Carlo Rossi Sangria, put them in the back of your new SUV, then take a corner a little faster than you intended. The result will always be that these rather thin glass jugs will burst on contact with each other and you will be stopped on the side of the road verging on tears, while your sister tries to downplay the situation, watching red liquid pour out the back of your car. And even if you take it to the car wash immediately, on warm days you will still smell that stench of hot wine. Just a little friendly advice…
For a perfect dish to serve with your sangria, check out my Spicy Chicken Tostaditos with Creamy Cilantro Drizzle.
And don't forget Mom...need a Mother's Day brunch recipe idea? Check out my recipe on Associated Content from Yahoo! for Individual Roasted Asparagus, Garlic and Two Cheese Bread Puddings. These savory bread puddings are a perfect addition to your brunch menu since they can be prepared ahead of time and popped in the oven just before your guests arrive. That way you can enjoy the mimosas, too!