How’s your summer been so far? Mine’s been wonderful…spending time with good friends and I’ve also met some wonderful new people…added into the friendship fold I have! I’m heading off to Greece tomorrow for my annual summer vacation, seeing family, friends and likely to make more new friends.
I’m not sure where I’m going this year for side trips or new places I haven’t visited yet. Greece is having another difficult year and I’m not sure if my friends will be taking any vacations apart from their summer homes. I may visit an island or two…Aegean or Ionic or one of each? I may just stay local and tour parts of northern Greece that I’ve yet to visit. I may take another side trip to Constantinople (Istanbul)…a city that still mesmerizes me and one that I enjoy exploring.
A visit to Greece’s capital, Athens, is likely as there are lots of friends to visit and there’s always some fabulous eating to be done there. I’m not sure where this year’s Greek summer will take me but I will be eating and drinking and I’m taking this recipe for Greek Sangria with me. Sangria is a chilled concoction of wine, fruit, soda, sugar or a simple syrup with some fruit and booze to balance the sweeteners.
The syrup I use to make my Greek Summer Sangria is the focus of my recipe – the one that gives this one the edge over other recipes and the reason I was asked to make/bring this sangria over and over and over again to parties, barbecues and gatherings. You see, when you’re mixing a sangria, you’re looking to cut the tannins and make it into a summer, fruit-forward drink that’s light enough to drink all afternoon yet there’s enough booze in there to add to your summer “glow”.
My Greek Summer Sangria uses those bottles of wine that I received as gifts and yes, perhaps they aren’t my preferred choices but I also wouldn’t regift them. So, into the bucket went some screw-top red, one sliced peach and one sliced orange, a couple of cans of ginger ale, and syrup to sweeten the mixture. I was about to make a simple syrup by boiling water and sugar but I remembered that I had a jar of syrup leftover from when I made Baklava ice cream and I took a chance and poured the syrup into the sangria. AMAZING!
The sangria takes on some of the cinnamon and cloves that infused the syrup and the sangria has just enough sweetness to please the ladies yet there’s still enough booze (thanks to the Metaxa brandy) to make it popular with the dudes as well. I’ve laid out a recipe per one bottle of wine but I recommend making a batch with 3 bottles of wine and tripling the recipe. After last night’s barbecue, the next batch of sangria make have to be made with 6 bottles!
Greek Summer Sangria
For the syrup
2 cups of water
1 cup sugar
2-3 strips of lemon or orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
4-5 whole cloves
1/2 cup honey
1-750 ml bottle of red wine
1/2 cup Metaxa brandy
1 ripe peach, sliced
1 orange, sliced
2 cans of ginger ale (or 7-UP/Sprite)
1 cup of syrup
- To make the syrup, first add the water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and lemon peel in to a small pot and bring to a boil. Then lower to a simmer and boil for another 6 minutes. Take off the heat and add the honey and allow to cool. Remove rind, cinnamon and cloves.
- Add your wine, sliced fruit, ginger ale and brandy and stir. Add the syrup in increments, stir and make as sweet as you wish. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- To serve, place some ice in each glass and pour the sangria.
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