Drink to your Health!

There's three things you need to know about me to understand how this sangria came to fruition:

1. I don't drink cheap wine.

2. I don't like to waste anything.

3. I'm picky about my cocktails.

You can blame my parents for the first.  They started my wine snobbery off young.  I never even saw a box or jug of wine until college.  And even then, on my PBR budget, I wouldn't drink it.

 

My husband and I are always looking to expand our repertoire of wine, so when we hit up the liquor store we usually grab a few trusty staples and one or two new bottles.  Sometimes it's a success, sometimes not so much.  If I find myself with a bottle of wine that's decent, but doesn't knock my socks off, I turn it into sangria.  This way I'm not wasting nice wine, plus I get to enjoy one of my favorite elixirs while controlling the sweetness.  Which brings us to #3.  I really don't like sickly-sweet drinks, save for properly-muddled mojitos, pina coladas made with fresh pineapple and coconut cream (both consumed in abundance on our honeymoon in Costa Rica last year), and the occasional Irish Coffee.  Sangria is one of my faves, but often when I order it out it's over-the-top sweet.  I want my sangria to taste like wine, not like a boat drink!

 

This Saturday marked the first weekend day that we were home with no plans.  Read: time to get shit done.  It's been a long and busy summer, and our house was in dire need of some fine-tuning.  I started the day by stocking the fridge with farmers' market finds.

Then the chores commenced.  As it turns out, boring activities really take it out of you.  After several hours of domestic drudgery,  we unwound ourselves with an hour at the beach (there aren't too many 80-degree Saturdays in our near future, after all!).  Post-beach, I ran through a home practice while my husband started a fire in our backyard fire pit.

Let's be honest - the smell of campfire at dusk always beckons for a cocktail, so into the kitchen I went to pour myself something to scratch that itch.  My drinking buddy was already several Allagash deep (the saddest part of my gluten allergy is not being able to imbibe in this exquisite beer), so I was on my own - and I was in PCM (that's Picky Cocktail Mode).  The really nice bottle of Cotes Du Rhone that I had purchased for the night wasn't calling my name at all and with a pretty good post-yoga glow going, I felt like I wanted something healthy.  Healthy cocktail?  I don't know, it's PCM - you can't fight the feeling.  It was warm out, so I also wanted something light.

 

I had an unfinished okay-tasting red blend kicking around from the night before, so decided to whip up sangria.  But I bailed on my traditional recipe in favor of something new.  I was feeling crafty.  I combined the rest of the opened red blend with some unusual suspects.

Ginger

Two weeks prior, my cousin had made a bit pitcher of 'gria to bring down to the beach and it was super yum.  He said he mixed red wine (duh), fruit (obvi) & ginger ale (new surprising twist).  I figure if ginger ale is good, fresh ginger root can only be better.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Lately I've been combining seltzer water with raw, unfiltered ACV & lemon for a tart & strangely-pallatable (not unlike Kombucha) post-lunch beverage.  Apple cider vinegar is a fermented food that's great for digestion, amongst many other things.  I always feel awesome after drinking it.

Cinnamon

After drinking Loco Coco's sangria forever ago, I always make my sangria with cinnamon. Usually I put a few cinnamon sticks in a large batch and let it all sit overnight.  Since this was a sangria-to-go, I just sprinkled some ground cinnamon into the mix.  A staple ingredient, for sure.

Lime

 always include some type of citrus - lemon, lime, orange, or all 3 - but I only had a lime on hand.  I like lime + ginger together in Moscow Mules, so figured it would be good here.  Plus, the lime + vinegar combo made for a tart beverage, which I'm into.

Peach

I had some fresh from the farmers' market so had to throw it in!

Maple syrup

For a hint of sweetness.  I used local syrup.

Seltzer

For some fizz without the sweetness of soda.

So here's the recipe as I did it.  I only used half a bottle of red wine (it's what I had leftover), so this recipe was good for 2 tall drinks.  Obviously double everything up for a larger batch.

 

Healthy (just go with it) Sangria

1/2 bottle of red - use what you like, or what you have kicking around.  I've used all varieties of red for sangria (Malbec, Cabernet, Tempernillo, Pino Noir, blends, etc.)  Everything I have tried thus far has worked.  I don't care if you jug or box wine.

1 lime, peeled and cut into slices

3 slices of fresh ginger root

1.5 T local maple syrup

2 T apple cider vinegar (you may want to start with 1 T then add more if you're into the taste)

1/2 peach, cut into small chunks

pinch of cinnamon

1 cup seltzer water (or more - adjust to your taste)

Combine lime, ginger, and a splash of wine in a pitcher.  "Muddle" everything around - just smash up the lime a bit to release some of the juice.  Add syrup, and stir to dissolve.  Add vinegar and the rest of the wine and give it a mix.  Add peach, cinnamon and seltzer and give one more stir.  Enjoy over ice and serve with some of the fruit chunks!

I enjoyed this drink way more than I had expected to.  It will certainly be on heavy rotation at my house.

The remainder of our Saturday was filled with a Farmers' Market feast, some tunes and, okay...maybe a glass or two of the aforementioned Cotes Du Rhone!

How did you all spend your weekend?