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I love making sangria. I learned how to make a potent sangria from an Italian friend in San Francisco. The ingredients included a lot of red wine, a bottle of brandy, sugar, bananas, apples, and whatever else I felt like throwing in from the liquor cabinet. The day before a party, I would make a trip to Trader Joe’s and buy six bottles of ‘two-buck chuck‘, a bottle of Slivovitz (Hungarian plum brandy), and three bags of frozen berries (who needs ice cubes?). I’d marinate apples and bananas in the Slivovitz over night. The next day just before guests arrived, I’d layer everything into a giant hurricane glass vase. It looked beautiful! It was the drink to begin and end the night.
Without Trader Joe’s in Beijing, I still manage to make the elixir in a large hurricane vase I bought at the Laitai flower market. I couldn’t find Slivovitz so I used Bacardi 151°. The sangria is so sneaky-tasty, no one realizes its potency. The vase is always polished off.
After a few parties with this sangria, girlfriends started to shy away from the drink in the vase. I had to lighten up this sangria. I love making sangria more than I like to witness friends conquered by its powers. My friend, Enoch, hosted a dinner party a few days ago and I said I’d make sangria. I was recently inspired to make a kinder-gentler sangria from Yummly.com’s delicious post 10 Intoxicating Summer Sangrias.
Sangria is a beautiful drink. It’s like bringing flowers to a party; pretty to admire but effectively present. Or it’s like the hot girl at a party with charisma and brains. Sangria, however, is more like a muse. My sangria muse was the Melon Mint Sangria, concocted by Caleigh’s Kitchen. My recipe skips the simple syrup and takes a few liberties. I’ll also mention, my girlfriends kept their wit while elated by the bubbles.
- 2 bottles sparkling wine, chilled
- watermelon, cubed or melon-balled
- honeydew, cubed or melon-balled
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 handful of mint leaves
Use as much watermelon and honeydew as you please. Feel free to try other melons. Here in China, the orange honeydew avails itself to my sangria. Chill the sparkling wine. Combine everything just before serving. For more lemon or mint flavor, feel free to muddle them a bit.