As a child growing up in Phoenix, I always looked forward to the Fourth of July. My family would sit on top of our patio roof with an enormous bowl of popcorn while we enjoyed the fireworks from Turf Paradise.
As a military spouse, I've had the opportunity to celebrate the Fourth in other countries. In England, the neighbors would ask why we weren't going to work. Apparently, the date didn't make it into English history books — way to put us in our place.
In Spain, we had a neighbor and squadron mate who hosted a huge, open to all, party on the Fourth. He made sangria for the party in a new, 20-gallon trash can. Being a prudent sort, I prefer to make smaller batches.
Unlike hot dogs and hamburgers, sangria isn't something normally associated with the Fourth of July, but it's the perfect drink to accompany whatever is coming off the grill and all those casual dishes that make up this summer celebration.
It's a refreshing drink, and it offers such flexibility. Almost any combination of fruit can be used. It can be made with white or red wine; however, I find red stands up to the other flavors better.
Even friends who don't drink red wine love my sangria. Many folks add brandy for extra flavor and oomph. I don't; I like the fact that this recipe isn't quite so strong.
I served sangria in a punch bowl recently for a large, informal dinner party in the following proportions. This recipe has become one of the most frequently read on my blog, and I wanted to share it with you in time for your summer parties. The amounts can easily be reduced to one-third for a pitcher of sangria.
Northwest resident Lois Britton also writes about her culinary adventures at http://FoodLoveLanguage.blogspot.com">http://FoodLoveLanguage.blogspot.com. Have a question or a food related story to share? Contact her at FoodLoveLanguage@gmail.com.
3 bottles cheap red wine (I used Two Buck Chuck, assorted varietals.)
1-1/2 cups triple sec
2 oranges, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 liter lemon-lime soda
1 liter club soda
Combine wine, triple sec, and fruit in punch bowl. Allow flavors to blend for at least 2 hours, but less than 6 hours (the citrus pith can impart a bitter taste if it sits too long). Add sodas just before serving. Serve over ice.
Makes approximately 30 six-ounce servings.