Summer is well and truly with us so at home we’re enjoying some refreshing sparklings, crisp whites, and reds in the evenings. And we shouldn’t forget to mention some excellent local craft beer and cider, and lots of water too.

Late last year Neil Larson (Tahbilk winemaker) was lucky enough to spend a couple of very enjoyable weeks holidaying in Spain with his wife and enjoyed many a tapa and vino blanco or tinto. Muy bien!

Enjoying another culture’s food and drink is one of the joys of travelling and they certainly made the most of that. Europeans have a much more flexible approach to wine and beer than we tend to have in this country, and some of their ideas are perfect for Australia.

On sunny days you see the Spanish at bars and cafes happily drinking sangria (red wine, fruit, spices and sugar), tinto de verano (red wine with lemonade) or clara con limón (beer with lemon soft drink). These drinks are ideal for our summer as an alternative to straight wine and beer, are fun to make, and brilliant to share with friends. Best of all, you can perfect your very own recipe, or make a special blend just for an occasion.

His Spanish friend Maria says that every Spaniard has their own recipe (or family recipe) that is always better than their neighbours or cousins!

Neil’s favourite is a sangria mix of red wine, soda water, a little sugar, orange slices and cinnamon but there is also white sangria, strong sangria and party sangria.

Find a basic recipe on the internet that you like – or use Neil’s that follows – and then just add your imagination!

NEIL’S BASIC RED SANGRIA

INGREDIENTS
• 750 ml bottle of fruity red wine (Cabernet or Merlot are good options)
• 250 ml (1 cup) of soda water (or soft drink if you want to make tinta de verano)
• 1 orange – thinly sliced (peaches and strawberries are also often added!)
• 1 – 2 tablespoons of sugar (use more or less to taste)
• 4 – 5 pinches of cinnamon (again, use more or less to taste). Cloves are another option.
• Optional: A few splashes of orange liqueur (eg. Cointreau or Drambuie), adjust to your taste
• Ice cubes

THE DAY PRIOR:
In a large jug mix red wine, orange slices, sugar and cinnamon and store in the fridge overnight.

BEFORE SERVING:
Add the cold soda water and ice cubes, splash in the orange liqueur to taste, and serve.

If you have a large group of friends/family then plan to have more ingredients ready in the fridge because your first batch might disappear very quickly!

Enjoy with much clinking of glasses, cheers and laughter.

 

2018-01-24

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