Monday, May 30, 2011

Red Sangria

Back in 1982, my sister and I went to Spain for 6 weeks with our high school Spanish teacher, Mr. Blowers (RIP), and a group of about 15 students from Taipei American School as part of a Spanish-language & cultural program. Not an exchange program per se, but one in which each one of us was placed with a local family (non-English speaking) in Segovia for the first 4 weeks. We had to attend school every weekday (the Colegio Universitario Domingo), and in between we went on field trips to nearby attractions in Avila, Burgos, Valladolid, Tordesillas and Salamanca. This was the first time Elaine and I had been away from home and our parents for any length of time, and being all of 15 and 16, we probably enjoyed ourselves more than we should have in that 'OMG, we can imbibe on alcoholic drinks without parental reprisal' state of mind. Anyhoo, every day around 11am after class at the Colegio, we would alway stop by our fav cafe in cahoots with a couple of our TAS gal pal-partners in crime, and order a pitcher of the most amazing sangria ever! Thank goodness my Spanish mom never noticed my buzzed state after class, since siesta time was de rigueur at high noon. 

So for this Memorial Day weekend, EE and I decided to do a Spanish tapas-themed menu. To complement the tapas, I came up with this sangria concoction as a result of mixing and matching several sangria recipes from a couple cookbooks and the web. And I think this tastes EXACTAMENTE like what we had in that modest little cafe in Segovia. Salud!

4 bottles (750-ml each) of dry red wine
1 1/2 cups brandy or cognac
1 apple, peeled, cored & cut into small dice
1 medium pear, peeled cored & cut into small dice (Bosc pears work well)
1 lemon, cut into thin slices
1 orange, cut into thin slices
1 cup apple juice
Juice of 1 orange
1 cup sugar

1. In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients. 

2. Chill in refrigerator overnight. 

3. To serve, ladle sangria along with some of the fruit into individual serving glasses.

Fuji Apple, Bosc Pear, Lemon, Navel Orange.

Slice lemon & orange.

Peel, core & dice pear & apple.

I know that a lot of sangria recipes say "heck, it's ok to use cheap wine in this concoction." Well, I beg to differ. Don't use a Chateau Lafite Rothschild, but definitely use a dry red that won't cause you to cringe-pucker when you drink it. There are a lot of decent wines out there (Cal Cabernets) in the $10-$15 range that would definitely fit the bill.

You must let the sangria marry its flavors overnight in the frig. Trust will be fantabulous.

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