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Summer Sangria

Sangria, before the wine

About 3 or 4 years ago I became a Summer Sangria nut.  Couldn't tell you what light switch flipped inside...just know that it did.  I think it started with packing pic-nics for a day trip to a public beach.  No alcohol allowed at the lake we were visiting.  Kids get fun punch...why not the adults?  So that first day I packed one icy jug of lemonade and one of adult punch...sangria.  The guard at the gate thought it looked like fruit punch.  Who was I to contradict?

Over the past several years I have experimented with all kinds of mixtures.  I have found that I like berries in my red sangria and peaches in my white sangria.  I have also started taking the last of the weeks berries and started building a bachelors brandy for that next batch of Sangria. 

A Bachelor's brandy is a layer of fruit (normally overripe) a sprinkling of sugar and topped with brandy.  You let it ferment for at least 2 months and once done it is just lovely over ice cream....  Often it is just berries but I have a friend who starts a large glass jar at the begining of the summer, as each week goes by he adds a layer, cherries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, plums, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries.  By the end of summer he seals the jar and forgets it till Christmas, then, Watch Out!

I never get to the end of summer.  I start a berry version and a stone fruit version.  The berries for red, the stone fruit for white.  When I have enough of one or the other...presto batch of sangria.

I went to an event today and was asked to make a batch.  Here is how it went down.


2 cups of brandy

2 to 3 cups assorted berries

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups triple sec

5 oranges, sliced

3 liters red wine, merlot today, chilled

1 liter club soda


If you have the time, slice the strawberries, add the blue and raspberries toss with sugar and cover with brandy.  Let it sit in the back of the fridge for 5 or 6 days.  If you don't have the time, let the berry/brandy mixture sit out at least overnight. 

Day of:  Slice the oranges add with the triple sec to the brandy and berries.  Chill down.  As the party is getting started mix together the wine and the fruit mix.  Add the club soda.  Serve over Ice

NOTE:  Today I used two liters of club soda.  It was an outdoor event and it was 80 degree's in the sun.  Add to that it was a graduation with lots of kids.  A little weaker on the sangria did not hurt anyone. 

Yield: 30 servings


Brunch Bloody Mary

1-1/4 oz "hot" vodka

1 tsp. grated horseradish

2 Tbsp. salty liquid from preserved lemons (Note:  cinnamon/clove scented preserved lemon juice, not so good in this recipe)

1 squirt Worcestershire sauce

sprinkle of celery salt

1 key lime, juiced

1 spear celery

6 to 8 oz V-8 juice, or tomato if you prefer


Fill a highball glass (10 to 12 oz glass) with ice.  Add vodka, and stir in horseradish, preserved lemon juice, Worcestershire, celery salt, and key lime juice.  Top with V-8 juice, stir and decorate with celery spear.


Playhouse Flaming Spanish Coffee

 CAUTION:  Working with fire can be fun but is very dangerous.  A few precautions please:

1.  Pre measure alcohol into individual glasses, and keep away from open flames until called for.  When you have much more experience we can talk about pouring from bottle.

2.  Using fancy crystal, not recommended.  Plain old Libbey glass style wine glasses best for this purpose.

3.  Have the Coffee and the whipped cream ready.

4.  Don't overheat the glass.


Measurements below are for each glass and fill an 8 oz wine glass

1 lemon wedge, you can reuse for multiple glasses

sugar for rimming glass

1/2 oz coffee flavored brandy

1/2 oz brandy

5 oz of coffee

Whipped cream for top


A sterno works well here as does a gas stove.  Run a slit lemon wedge around the top of the wine glass then dip upside down into a dish of sugar. 

You want about a 1/4 inch of sugar to cling to both the inside and the outside of the glass.  Light your flame.  Hold the glass firmly by the base.  Heat the bowl of the empty wine glass, constantly turning, about 1 minute.  Even a plain old Libbey glass will break if not heated evenly, or if overheated.  As the bowl of the wine glass warms, let the flame hit the top of the glass occasionally to start to melt the sugar.  If the sugar melts completely and bubbles at this stage the glass is too hot.  Set aside and let cool. 

When the bowl is hot pull glass away from flame and add the coffee flavored brandy.  Bring glass back over the flame and heat the brandy, constantly turning, about 30 seconds.  When hot, continue to swirl and lower glass so that the flame is near the mouth of the glass, continue to swirl and brandy should catch.  Pull away from the flame and continue to swirl and let the flame dance then die out (note if not going out, have a plate handy and place over the top to extinguish flame, burnt sugar not yummy).


Add brandy and repeat warming and flaming process.  The brandy will burn longer.  While still flaming, top off with coffee, leaving about an inch at top of glass.  The coffee will extinguish the flame.    Now set down glass and top off with a heaping tablespoon of whipped cream and pass to first guest.  Advise them that the glass will be hot and especially that the sugared rim needs to cool before they take a sip!