It’s viernes and I have no flan for you. I’ve got 4 ridiculous flavors in the works but we’ll have to sit tight til I get it together. Life is loca these days with exciting haps on every front. So, today it’s all about something cold, fruity, sexy and with lots of vino! Plus we’re just getting or kitchen back so there was no real time to organize a flan fest. After two back to back power outages in the same week — the latter infringing on our plans for the Fourth of July — and temperatures scorching everything from our oregano plants to the hydrangeas, the only thing any of us in the house could think of was drinking anything cold. Not to sound typically cliché or anything, but Sangria was the choice drink every day this week by unanimous decision.
This mouth-watering and dreamy coctel de frutas, its home being Spain, is not for the tenuous stomach. Don’t let the generous amount of fruit distract you from the potential lack of sobriety you’ll experience by the time you’re finished drinking. Because you can’t just have one glass. You’ll be excited to have that first one, and then the wine sneaks up on you and you start feeling really nice, especially if it’s hot outside like this week has been on the East coast, and you go for a second glass, losing sight of the fact that the fruit has become drunken before you were even served.
That’s how I like to make my Sangria — one day in advance so that the fruit soaks and drenches in wine, later acting as a primary source of flavor. The drink itself is really a secondary culprit. But, I can’t take any credit for this perfect-looking pitcher of goodness. I did set it up and photograph it, but all its richness is credited to my dad.
It’s his baby.
This is the one drink he swears by, has been tweaking for years and we all hold in extreme high regard, commissioning him to make it every time our Crazy Cuban house opens its doors to the general public for epically proportioned parties. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s been tested and tried at least 45 times, yielding it bona fide true. He’d be modest and say it was “okay,” but even my mother, who makes a solid argument for her version kicking his back to the cutting board, loves it and will sip a few glasses herself.
She had two last night. I had three.
After 4.5 years of blogging, I finally thought it was time to share this recipe, though he’s made it for this, this, this and this occasion. I was waiting for a really special moment to open up the discussion and impart his little tricks with you.
A week of sleep deprivation coupled with melting ice on the floor within the coolers and midnight dips in the backyard pool is eventful enough to deem this the perfect time. After all, the fresh fruits laying around were about the only perishable foods that didn’t spoil.
When Papi prepares something, he approaches it as methodically as a Joel Robuchon-trained chef would. He’s very precise, muy conscious of time and all measurements. I don’t quite get it, but he’s never disappointed. Not even in the case of a drink where taste is subject to tolerance level and preference of fruits has he wavered from his technique. Though, when I asked him for his recipe, his response shocked me “Flaca, I don’t know. Don’t you have your own recipe you can share. I just made it on the fly and to taste. It just worked.” Uh, no, Papi, Imma need you to go sit down and figure out the recipe. I’m putting it out there for people to enjoy and it has to be perfecto!
Sure, there are plenty of recipes out there, and I’ve even made my share for soirées and cooking classes I used to teach in Atlanta, but this bad boy trumps them all. I use Brandy and make a simple syrup. I also use grapes in my recipe. Our are totally different, and that’s just fine. His makes my mouth get all giddy and over the top excited. I analogize my experience sipping his colorful and well-balanced concoction to any planned shoe shopping trip where I know I’ll come home with some fly new stilettos.
No matter what he says, I know he pulls a switcharoo of some sort every time, but no less, the pitcher is always becokned for a second batch, most times a third.
I’ve been to Spain three times and each visit is complemented by fantastic varieties of their genius drink. It’s amazing no matter where you go. But I relinquish the idea that something is the end all, be all simply because it’s native to a country or even oneself. This one plain ol’ kicks arse.
So, from my Papi (and my little bit of last minute tweaking), I implore you get your sexy drink on and make for a huge pitcher for your next at-home gathering. Don’t be stingy. This recipe serves about 10-12. Depending on how lush you.
RED WINE SANGRIA
- 1 3/4 bottle of Merlot
- 8 oz. ginger ale
- 10 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
- 4-6 oz. triple sec
- 1.5 orange, peeled and sliced (divide)
- 1 gala apple, diced
- 1 of Granny Smith apple, sliced
- 5 heaping tsps. refined sugar
In large pitcher, add all ingredients and stir. Chill for one day. When ready to serve, add half of unpeeled and sliced orange and Granny smith apple. Serve in individual wines glasses. Ice not necessary.
Yields 2 liters.
* Papi's notes: "Add triple sec to taste. I stay within 4-6 oz. as noted above. Also, I usually top it off with juice from one fresh squeezed lime, but my wife didn't want it this time so I omitted it. Very little noted difference, if any. Still very good!
* My notes: I added 1/2 grapefruit and a few blackberries and raspberries for garnish. The grapefruit gave it a nice twang.