You’re probably thinking, this girl has got some nerve to brag about a chilled wine with fruit. BRAG I WILL!!! This is another one of my all-time favorite summer entertaining recipes. (Actually, it’s enjoyed by all EVERY SEASON.)
This delicious drink goes way back for me. From family dinners with my hubby’s crew to “Sangria Saturdays” with my sister; so many memories!!! The term Sangria Saturday was first termed when my hubby and I had little boys (4 1/2 and 2 years old). Most Saturday afternoons were spent doing yard work and trying to carve out a little relaxation time, which was easier said that done with two small crazies.
Around that time, my sister had graduated college and was at a turning point in her life. As sisters, we were walking different paths; her career was starting and her desire to “get out there” was on full blast. I, on the other hand, was trying to potty train my youngest son and find some quiet time to read a few pages in a book. Enter the dogs…we had a 2 year old black lab named Dory and my sister had adopted a 1 year old husky, conveniently named…Nemo. I swear, people, this was not planned. I laughed my butt off when she told me his name, really!!!
Saturday became a day that we could get the dogs together. The five us could could sit back, enjoy the sunshine and make a fire and s’mores after dark. At this time, I was also experimenting with my red sangria recipe. A little of this, a little of that…trying different ingredients. My little sister was happy to be my taste tester. (Hubby didn’t mind either!) I would cook dinner while we would all chat and catch up on the week’s news. The dinner menu was different every Saturday, but the drink was always the same – Red Sangria!
To perfect this delicious chilled concoction, I experimented with different red wines, liquors, fruits and fruit juices. Some overpowered the sangria, while others just didn’t measure up. What I found was that blackberry brandy and triple sec are fabulous compliments to the red wine. Traditional fruits such as apples, pears, oranges and lemons rounded out the flavors of the berry from the brandy and the grapes from the wine. But lemon, OH LEMON, how you were the thorn in my side! If I added lemons or lemon juice, it made the sangria too tart, but if I left it out, there was something soooo obviously missing. Enter the solution…Lemonade…the perfect tasty addition. From there, it was easy to build and tweak the flavors.
It’s been almost a decade since those Sangria Saturdays. My sister now lives over 1800 miles away, but the memories are still alive and well. Family time together laughing as night falls, roasting marshmallows over a fire, watching the lightening bugs fly. (Yeah, I’m a dreamer here in the Northeast – But we still see them sometimes!) But truth be told, special moments with loved ones pass in a laughter filled moment, but stay in our hearts for years.
So pull up a chair, sit back and relax. Let’s enjoy this beautiful day, a glass of Red Sangria and great company. Welcome to my patio!
2 – 1.5 liter bottles of red wine – one Cabernet & one Merlot
6 oz. triple sec
4 oz. blackberry brandy
1/2 c. prepared lemonade
1 – 12oz can mandarin oranges, juice included
2 red apples, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 green pears, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 – 12oz cans of berry-flavored seltzer
Combine all ingredients except seltzer. I use a large stockpot for this because it fits on a shelf in my fridge and it has a lid. (Don’t worry you won’t be serving it in this, unless you get lazy like I do on occasion.) Refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
Right before serving, pour 1/3 of the mixture (making sure to scoop some fruit out too) into a large serving pitcher. Mix 1 can of seltzer into the pitcher and serve the sangria over ice.
Repeat using remaining 2/3 sangria and 2 cans of seltzer to refill pitcher.
This recipe makes 3 pitchers – approximately 24 servings in all. Enjoy carefully. It’s very strong, especially if you eat the fruit as you are sipping the sangria.
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