Kat Barry: Sangria makes great beach party beverage

Published 7:32 am Friday, July 12, 2013

Last week, my friend, Jen, visited Michigan for the Fourth of July holiday. We’ve made it a little tradition that we make sangria together when she comes to Michigan. We both love wine and good times spent outdoors in the beauty of the Great Lakes summer. It’s fun to mix a batch of sangria at the beginning of the weekend and take it along to the beach, share at barbecues or simply enjoy on the porch.
We mix it in a plastic jug that works really well for transporting from one event to the next. For a homemade beach party beverage, we scooped out some of the fruit and filled a couple of water bottles. It worked out really well because sangria is easy to share and a couple glasses are just enough to have fun and still feel good. Also the fruit makes for a beautiful presentation and is an enjoyable wine-filled snack sure to please your friends. The 1.5-liter jug we made was the perfect amount to last us through the three days of festivities with family and friends. We found it very rewarding to share something we made together with our fellow revelers.
When we made sangria last summer, we did a wine tasting at White Pine downtown St. Joe then mixed the wines we bought with other local wine I had at home. I didn’t have the foresight to write the recipe down last time, but we winged it from memory and were sure to take notes this time. I opted for sweet wines, and Jen suggested we squeeze our own citrus juices to avoid adding more sugar to the recipe. Another key element to this lower sugar recipe is the addition of whiskey. Its relative low carbohydrate count gives it a punch without tons of calories (less calories than wine anyway). Some seltzer water gives it a slight and enjoyable effervescence.
Jen and I try to make it with all local wines and encourage you to do the same. I got a great deal on bottles with holiday specials, but you can always go with box wines if it’s more cost effective.
Either way, we’re sure you’ll get as much satisfaction about sharing this sangria at your next summer party as we did over Independence Day.
No sugar-added sangria
Yield: 1.5 liters sangria

2 750 milliliter bottles cheap cabernet
1 750 milliliter bottle pink moscato
1 750 milliliter bottle Leelanaw Cellars Great Lakes Blend
1 cup Makers Mark
24 ounces lemon sparkling water
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
2 oranges sliced into 1½-inch pieces
2 lemons sliced into 1½-inch pieces
1 sweet apple cut into 1-inch pieces
1 d’anjou pear cut into 1-inch pieces
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Add fruit to the bottom of a jug or sun tea pitcher. Pour in the wine, seltzer, Makers Maker and juice. Add the cinnamon and stir well.
Sangria is best if it’s been allowed to sit for at least two to three hours, but it can be enjoyed right away. Keeps in the refrigerator for as long as a week.

For more information about how to responsibly enjoy a couple cocktails while still considering your waistline and health, check out www.getdrunknotfat.com. This comprehensive chart lists the calorie count versus alcohol content of every type of alcohol.