October 20, 2017

What I’m Drinking: Sangria

There are two, no, wait, three problems with Sangria. One: too often when you get it out, it’s an ugly mess that’s been sitting in some bar fridge, aging in a way that kills the brightness and mucks the flavor. That’s the biggest problem, but also easily solvable (make your own! Or go somewhere that makes it with care). The second problem is that most folks restrict it to only the summer months, but a rich, red-wine-based Sangria in the fall (and even winter) months helps deliver citrus and taste and a refreshment that adds a smile to the season/s. Third, when people do make Sangria at home, they don’t use this old family recipe of mine. Too snooty of me, saying that? Maybe. You can either tut-tut me, or make this recipe – I think you’ll act properly. Because you’re a problem-solver!

And while you’re thinking, put your peepers on this groovy Sangria photo from my pal Sara. If that doesn’t get you craving Sangria, well, I’m not sure what to think of you.


Sangria, recipe from Wine Cocktails

Serves 6

Ice cubes
1 orange, cut into wheels
1 lime cut into wheels
1 lemon cut into wheels
6 ounces simple syrup
4 ounces freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 ounces freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 bottle dry red wine, a Pinot Noir works well, but experiment
6 ounces brandy
Other fresh fruit for garnishing (oranges, limes, lemons)

1. Place the orange, lemon, and lime wheels and simple syrup in a large glass pitcher. Muddle well with a muddler or wooden spoon.

2. Add the orange juice and lime juice, and muddle just a touch more.

3. Add the red wine and the brandy, and stir well (bring a guest stirrer in if needed). Place the pitcher carefully in the refrigerator for two hours or more, but no longer than a day.

4. Add ice until the pitcher is full, and stir slightly. Pour into six stemmed wine glasses or goblets and garnish with fresh fruit.

July 10, 2009

Sangrias at La Casa Azul

I’m sure you’ve had a night like this: you get home, you know you should make dinner (to save money, and to use up what’s going bad in your fridge at this very moment, right now) but you’re having a hard time getting the energy going to get started, and so instead you make a deal with yourself (and maybe your wife or husband too): I/we will go out to dinner, but then I’ll/we’ll fold the unbelievably-large mountain of laundry when I/we get home from said dinner out. That happened to me (and Nat) last night, and the restaurant we ended up going to, to balance out that part of the “deal” was La Casa Azul. We’d never been before, but our pals, tattooed-Nicole and photographer-Josh, had recently A: told us about it, and B: told us it was darn tasty. Well, they’re believable folks, so we figured we’d give it a whirl, even though it’s in a strip mall kind-of a spot. It ended up being just what they said: darn tasty. And cute and cozy too, with both a Frieda Kahlo style and décor focus (and food, in a way) and super nice waiter and chef/waiter (these two guys do it all). If you live in Seattle, take my advice, and make the trip up or over to 14419 Greenwood Ave North. If you don’t live in Seattle, then move here for gawd’s sake. Sadly, our camera ran low on batteries, so I don’t have food pics, but this blog’s about booze anyway. And, luckily, I got some snaps of the lush sangrias before said batteries blew:



The sangria was a touch sweeter than my venerable family recipe (which you can find in about half of my books), but had a great clean and bright taste backed by some fruity but firm red wine, and a full array of fresh garnishes. Nat loved it, and I drank two, so I must have thought it fine as well. We also ate like hogs (or hog-like humans, ala the Island of Dr. Moreau, the book and not either of the movie versions), which is understandable, because the food was done so right, from the spicy salsa to the onion-and-pepper packed queso fundido (which they were nice enough to make for us veggies without chorizo) to the Tlayudes which I had (which was like a giant super thin tortilla–more a tortilla-Italian-style-pizza-combo–topped with black beans, cheese, cabbage, veggies), and the Plato Vegetarianos which Nat had (which was sautéed slabs of squash and nopales, sautéed mushrooms and spinach, and lots of smashed seasoned potatoes with an avocado-tomatillo sauce). Dang, now I’m hungry. Thanks Nicole and Josh for pointing us in the right direction (North, for us).

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