Monday, July 23, 2012

Would You Bring Sangria? Malbec Sangria with Port and Blueberries

Whenever I want to make Sangria, I have to think a few times about what's in it.  I know I love it, but someone else usually seems to make it.  Or I pay $8 for a small, watery glass at the local Mexican joint and am very unhappy with the way I've spent my money.    Most times, embarrassingly, I just forget to make it.  I offer wine (or beer if I'm thinking hard) and, if I'm in St. Paul in July, the quintessential Twin Cities summer drink:  Gin and Tonic with Lime.

But Sangria spells fun.  Says fiesta.   So if you make it, people will inevitably get a big smile on their faces and go, "Oh, Sangria!"  It's also a way to use that wine your beer-drinking friend brought over last summer.  That's still sitting in your wine rack.  If wine isn't good enough for Sangria, you might as well water the plants with it.  Or regift it.  (Can't believe I said that.  Definitely not right to regift bad wine.)

My husband typically takes on the job of Sangria, making it the day before so that the base mixture (before you add club soda or some sort of sparkler) has time to marry and the fruit can macerate all night.  (The fruit becomes pretty alcoholic.)  Tonight, my friend Mary Pat is coming for a family dinner out on the deck.  IF it cools off enough; it's ninety something AGAIN.    Chicken legs and thighs on the grill and a very fast Mediterranean Orzo Salad that comes out differently each time I make it (and then is lunch for a day or two.) Just for fun, I made us a pitcher of Sangria to say, "Happy Summer."   I have tons of blueberries because 1. I'm addicted and 2.  The Northwest blueberries are in season.  (Look for the ones from Oregon and/or Washington and freeze a big bag or two--unwashed--for your winter smoothies.  You can also use them frozen and briefly rinsed in muffins or pancakes.)

While this batch is enough to take to friends, you can also make a half portion just for you and leave it in the frig until it's all gone.  Yes, it's fun to treat yourself well.  Try this:

malbec sangria with port and blueberries
serves 6

3 cups Malbec or other big-bodied red wine
1/3 cup each:  port and simple syrup at room temperature*
1/2 cup orange juice, optional
2 cups blueberries (or mix with strawberries and any other summer fruit, sliced)
6 sprigs fresh mint 
12-16 oz club soda, sparkling water, or sparkling wine

Early in the day or the night before, mix wine, port, cooled simple syrup, oj (if using), and berries in a big pitcher.  Taste and add more port and/or simple syrup if too light, dull, or sour.   Refrigerate, well covered, until very cold.  To serve,  pour into large wine glasses over ice, garnish with a sprig of mint, and top off with a big splash of sparkling wine or water.

Optional:  Since many people like citrus in their sangria, you could also add some sliced lemon and orange to the wine mixture before refrigerating.

*To make simple syrup (so good in iced tea),  combine equal parts water and white sugar in a small sauce pan.  Heat to boiling, stir well, and remove from heat.  Let cool completely before using.  Store leftovers in a small jar with a tightly-fitted lid and use for lemonade or iced tea another day.

 Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,


  1. "It's also a way to use that wine your beer-drinking friend brought over last summer."

    What are you saying about beer-drinkers?

    Just for that, I challenge you to write a recipe for a Shandy.


  2. I'm not saying anything about beer-drinkers except that they're beer-drinkers. Now that I, too, drink the occasional brew, I can't say much. I think a Shandy sounds like something I ought to work on this summer! Thanks for the idea!


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