That's right: Summer's heat inspires thoughts of Sangria, the cooling Spanish summer wine punch. While I wouldn't recommend wasting a really great wine on this confection, a bowl of it makes a fine companion at poolside or on the porch, whether you're having a party or just enjoying it with friends and family.
My basic recipe is simple: Pour one bottle (750 ml) of dry red wine and an equal amount (more or less, depending on your taste) of club soda or sparkling water into a punch bowl. Add thin slices of citrus fruit - limes, lemons, oranges or a combination - to your taste. As optional extras, give it a shot of brandy or orange-flavored liqueur. If you like it sweet, add a little sugar. For a change of pace, make it with white wine (or even a modest bubbly) and substitute slices of kiwi or whole strawberries or table grapes for the citrus. Sangrķa is a forgiving punch -- it doesn't care if you change the rules in the middle of the bowl.
The wine you use to make Sangrķa should be palatable, of course, but as noted, you don't want to pour expensive wine into a casual drink like this. I turn toward Spanish reds like the fruity wines of Jumilla or La Mancha, but any modest, flavory red will do - a Cotes du Rhone, maybe, or a fruity Australian Shiraz. (Even though it's winter Down Under, I wouldn't turn down a taste of Sangria in a cozy room with a crackling fire.)
For another approach, here's a Sangria recipe I received recently from reader Don Grogg:
Red or White Sangria
750 ml bottle of $10 red or white wine
Mix it all together and refrigerate for two hours. Serve over ice. All measures are estimates ... have fun!
Wednesday, July 18, 2001