When it comes to the ultimate summer bevvie, there are plenty of solid contenders. Piña coladas immediately recall beachy vacations. Frozen bellinis ooze upscale Italian lounging. Vodka-lemonade mixes are made for Southern porches and seersucker.
But for me, it's all about the sangria. Whether you like it red, white, or sparkling, this fruity refresher requires no blender and little money and begs to be served at casual gatherings. Given the combination of wine and fruit, it's hard to make a bad sangria, but a truly excellent one can mentally transport you to a shaded patio in Sevilla where flamenco softly plays.
As a public service, in the spirit of CultureMap's month dedicated to summer fun, I hereby share my ultimate sangria recipe:
Wine (1.5 liter bottle — nothing too fancy, sangria is best when the wine is cheap)
Brandy (2 ounces or 2 shots)
Lime (1, juiced)
Lemon (1, juiced)
Orange (1, juiced)
Sugar/synthetic sugar (10 packets, Splenda or generic Splenda preferred)
Fruits (Pick your preferred fruits and chop them up — I like apple, strawberry, grape, and pear)
Carbonated Beverage (seltzer water, Sprite, Fresca or tonic water)
Cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon)
Pitcher (2 liter or larger)
Pour wine and brandy into pitcher.
Mix with sugar, lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, cinnamon and brandy.
When serving, add splash of carbonated beverage and slice of lemon or lime.
Find shady spot outdoors and sip until relaxed.
Repeat as necessary.