It’s summer and I think Sangria is a wonderfully yummy summer beverage. It doesn’t require (should never use) expensive wine and it’s fun to make. Not only that, but the soaked fruit is sort of a fun bonus that you can’t get when you buy pre-made Sangria in a bottle.
Alternatively, I also recommend a Sangriatini – one of my favorite drinks that can easily be made by the glass instead of by the punch bowl.
But back to that punch bowl … here are three versions I like to make for summer parties: red, followed by pink and white after the jump. The red version – Sangria Rouge – is my favorite.
Oh, and Sangria goes great with Paella!
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup OJ
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
1/3 cup lime juice from concentrate
3/4 cup brandy (but really, just dump in the bottle if you have room)
2-750 ml bottles of medium-dry red wine, chilled (burgundy or 3 Thieves jug wines work well)
Fruit slices: Orange, peach, plum, other fruits
1. In pitcher or bowl, combine sugar and juices.
2. Stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Cover and chill.
4. Just before serving, add wine and fruit.
5. Serve over ice.
1 cup OJ
1/2 cup sugar
1-1.5L white zinfandel (what else is it good for?)
1 btl brandy
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
1 lime, thinly sliced and seeded
1 orange, thinly sliced and seeded
16-20 ice cubes
1. Combine OJ and sugar in small pan.
2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
3. Pour into a 2 quart container with tight-fitting lid.
4. Add wine, lime or lemon juice, and fruit.
5. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours to blend flavors.
6. Place ice cubes in small bowl or large pitcher.
7. Pour mixture over ice.
1 bottle Spanish white wine (I recommend a bottle of Naia)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup peach brandy
6 tbsp thawed lemonade concentrate
8 oz sliced peaches
1 cup sliced green grapes
1 cup sliced red grapes
1. Mix together wine, sugar, brandy, and lemonade until well mixed.
2. Add in the fruits and refrigerate overnight. (Nicely alcoholic fruits at this point.)
3. Serve the next day from a large pitcher filled with ice.
So I know it’s Cinco de Mayo. But let’s talk about more important things … like the Kentucky Derby.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the Kentucky Derby. Between the horses and the hats, I’m in absolute heaven. So I thought I’d share with you, over the next three or so days, some of my favorite Derby drink recipes.
We’ll start with perhaps the easiest, which is Bourbon Slush. With any of these drinks, make sure you use a nice bourbon. The quality of the bourbon affects the quality of the drink, no matter how you mix it. For this particular recipe, I like to use Woodford Reserve from the special Derby edition bottle.
I got this recipe from my old friend Kate, and it is by far the best slush I have tasted or made. I tend to make it the night before a party to ensure a good amount of slushiness.
Kate’s Bourbon Slush
Step 1: Tea
2 1/2 cups boiling water
2 peach tea bags
1 cup sugar
Combine the boiling water and tea bags.
Once the tea is set, remove the bags and pourinto a large plastic container. (There must be room for the tea to expand once in the freezer.)
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Step 2: Those yummy flavors
6 cups cold water
1 large can, frozen lemonade
1 small can, frozen orange juice
2 cups Kentucky bourbon
Add remaining ingredients to the tea.
Stir until all ingredients are well blended.
Freeze in plastic container, covered, for 6 to 8 hours, sometimes longer depending on your freezer. Spoon into glasses and top off with Sprite or 7Up.
It’s Derby season and as many of you know, I love the Kentucky Derby. While Derby itself isn’t until May (have you picked out your hat yet?), Woodford is already promoting their $1000 Mint Julep Cup.
You can now purchase this gorgeous Mint Julep cup online, made by my favorite jeweler, Tiffany’s. They even come with a sterling silver straw to sip that julep. Cups are first come, first serve to the first 103 people (there have been 103 Derby winners born in Kentucky) to, um, pony up that $1000. Cups come in a Tiffany blue box, of course, and are set in a Woodford Reserve casing made from the same wood as Woodford Reserve barrels. All proceeds from sales of the Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Cup benefit The Heart of a Horse Foundation and you can pick up your cup at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.
Once you have that cup in hand, you can get your mint julep. Since you’ve paid $1000 for the cup, you might as well have the most exotic mint julep in the commonwealth.
– Bourbon Smoked Sugar from Bourbon Barrel Foods in Louisville, KY represents the union of flavors that result when Woodford Reserve barrels are combined with raw Demerara sugar. The bourbon-soaked barrel staves are utilized during the smoking process to impart a sweet, caramel flavor and the essence of smoked oak.
– Rare Chocolate Mint grown in San Diego, California. This unique mint adds a tantalizing touch of spring freshness to the classic Mint Julep.
– Ice made of rainwater captured on the pristine island of Tasmania, Australia, where the air is scientifically proven to be the purest in the world. The air travels over Antarctica and 10,000 miles of ocean reaching the western part of Tasmania called “The Edge of the World” where it is collected without ever touching the ground.
So go ahead and try to be one of those 103 lucky people. I will probably be at home on my couch, wearing a fancy hat and cheering on my favorite horse, drinking a mint julep made from Kentucky ice.
I’m an award show geek. I love them. Admittedly, I Tivo them so I can watch them on delay and fast forward through the boring parts. I particularly enjoy the Golden Globes because everyone is at tables with bottles and bottles of champagne. Yeah, they’re there for an award, but also, I suspect, to get a little sloppy drunk in their awesome evening wear. It makes me giggle.
So when I got this fantastic little press release the other day, I was thrilled. It’s loaded down with amazingly appropriate Golden Globe themed cocktails. (I suspect the publicist is repping Flor de Cana Nicaraguan rum, Lucid absinthe, and Russian Standard vodka, but she never mentioned her clients.) Whether you’re having an awards-show party or watching from home, you can imbibe just like the stars do.
Inception: It is only appropriate to provide fans of this convoluted thriller an equally mysterious and complex libation. Escape to another world with Lucid, the brand responsible for lifting the 100-year absinthe ban. Mesmerize your guests by serving this anise-flavored spirit in the traditional method and watch as it morphs from green to milky white before their eyes.
Lucid Dream Stealer
Traditional absinthe drip. Pour cold water over 1.5 oz. Lucid absinthe. Stir and enjoy.
Glee: Glee scored 5 Golden Globe nominations and the truth is – this show is a true fan favorite, due to its high energy musical numbers and campy style. For all the young kids in the audience, and maybe those who aren’t drinking tonight, we’ve got a great mock-tail that you can enjoy as you sing along to your favorite Glee hit.
New Directions Champion
1 oz. white cranberry juice
.5 oz. apple juice
Top with ginger ale and garnish with a cinnamon stick and fresh cranberries
An adult fan? For an extra layer of yum, add 1 oz. of Flor de Cana rum to give this cocktail a festive POP!
Black Swan: If this film’s dark, two-sided depth is for you, how about mixing up a cocktail to match? Made with Russian Standard Vodka and muddled blackberries, the delicious Russian Swan’s two-toned look is eerily reminiscent of Nina Sayer’s contrasting sides.
The Seductive Swan
1.5 oz Russian Standard Vodka
3 oz Lemonade
Muddle four blackberries in bottom of a tumbler. Add ice, Russian Standard Vodka and lemonade. Garnish with remaining blackberry.
Social Network: What better way to toast the story of Mark Zuckerberg’s creation than with a drink as social as Facebook itself? Punch of course if the most social cocktails – perfect for sharing with friends. This punch blends Flor de Cana rum with some hot cayenne pepper – it’s a true taste of electric spark!
1 oz Flor de Caña 7 year-aged rum
1 seedless Watermelon
One good pinch of Cayenne pepper
4 Sugar cubes
1 oz Lime juice
1 oz Club soda
Dissolve the sugar cubes in 1 oz. of club soda. Add and muddle several 1-inch pieces of watermelon. Finally, add the rest of the ingredients one at a time and stir as added. Chill. (Recipe can be multiplied to fill a traditional punch bowl.)
A couple of months ago, I was sent a story by Stephan Visakay about swizzle sticks (which I happen to collect). I was so thrilled, I asked him, with Maddy Lederman, to write an article for the blog.
“The difficulty of securing a cherry resting at the bottom of a cocktail glass without resorting to boorish antics obnoxious to people accustomed to polite social usages is so well known as to have become a matter of public comment and jest.”
In his three-page patent copy, Jay Sindler used the cherry to describe how necessary his new invention, the Swizzle Stick, was, but legend has it the idea was sparked by an olive.
It was February 1934, a few months after Prohibition had ended. Sindler, an employee of the Converse Rubber Company and an avid inventor, sat contemplating his martini at the Boston Ritz Carlton’s bar one night, faced with the challenge of removing his olive without dipping his fingers into his gin. I like to think Sindler was on his second or third martini when it all came together. He envisioned a small spear with a paddle-like handle, imprinted with an establishment’s name like a miniature billboard. It would be something the patrons could take home, cheaper than a book of printed matches and cheaper still than the cost of vanishing ashtrays and cocktail glasses. Sindler’s patent, number 1,991,871, was granted on February 19, 1935.
Polite society caught on to Sindler’s invention and his new company Spir-it was off to a promising start.
There was some competition, however. With Repeal, all the great glass companies began to manufacture bar ware. Stirring rods once used by 1920’s Flappers were now mass-produced. Unlike the swizzle stick, glass swizzles didn’t have a pointed spear for fruit garnishes and were costly to silk-screen with a hotel logo. Some glass companies had the novel idea of inserting a tube of paper with advertising copy into a glass rod and sealing the end like a message in a bottle, but costly and impractical, this didn’t last. Today this type of hollow (and easily broken) stirrer is one of the most sought after by collectors. Other attractive materials include Bakelite and Catalin.
Major developments in plastic manufacturing came along with World War II. By the 1950’s swizzle sticks came in an incredible array of shapes and colors and served as inexpensive advertisements for clubs, casinos, restaurants and airlines. All establishments had a custom swizzle stick even if they made do with the cheaper, stock version; a straight, tapered rod with a paddle signboard imprinted with a tavern’s logo.
Into the 1960′s and the Space Age, there was a boom in the electronics industries calling for precision plastic parts which led to new technologies in thermosetting plastic injection molding. The period from the late 1950’s throughout the 1960’s was a Golden Age for signature swizzle sticks.
Drinks served on TWA flights sported a red propeller swizzle. At Trader Vic’s, a Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddle with a Tiki God handle graced the drinks at the venerable bar. The Thunderbird Hotel and Swim Club in Miami Beach featured a Flying Thunderbird on top of it’s swizzle with the name in large script over the shaft. Playboy’s signature bunny-head sat atop their swizzles which, for some reason, were extra long. Many people saved the Playboy swizzle if they ever came across it. In fact, most of us have a few swizzle sticks saved somewhere. Taking a swizzle as a memento was encouraged. They were a promotional calling card or a remembrance of a wonderful trip or night on the town and they disappeared from nightclubs and hotel bars as fast as they were set out.
The swizzle sticks’ popularity didn’t last forever, or even very far into the 1970′s. For example, during the Carter years, the White House was dry. It was beer and wine only at State functions, no doubt the reason why Jimmy was a one term President. When he derided the “fifty dollar martini lunch” for businessmen, former House Speaker Jim Wright (D-TX), replied, “If the Good Lord hadn’t intended us to have a three martini lunch, then why do you suppose He put all those olive trees in the Holy Land?”
Inventor Jay Sindler would have agreed.
Check out clubs such as the International Swizzle Stick Collectors Association (ISSCA), www.swizzlesticks-issca.com.
ISSCA President Ray Hoare and thousands of collectors world-wide, sociologists and anthropologists agree that these miniature, pop-culture icons give us an inside look at the past and are a valued collectable worth saving for future generations. And besides, they can still be used to stir your favorite drink.
If you’re looking for swizzles for your next party ask your parents, they probably have a box full somewhere. Or you can purchase swizzle sticks from the company started by Jay Sindler, they’re still in business. Spirit Foodservice, Inc has a fantastic web site with eco-friendly and biodegradable options. Marketing Manager Rachel Pantely tells us that swizzles are hotter than ever with the increased interest in retro cocktails. www.spiritfoodservice.com
Stephen Visakay is author of Vintage Bar Ware (Collector Books 1997) and has written for antique, collectible, and trade magazines. His cocktail shaker exhibition, “Shaken, Not Stirred, Cocktail Shakers and Design” has been featured in museums nationwide, including The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, The Louisiana State Museum, and The Milwaukee Art Museum. Contact: email@example.com
Maddy Lederman is a writer and a filmmaker. firstname.lastname@example.org
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