Archive for the ‘Beverages’ Category

After our recent trip to Chicago to see a friend and partaking of some Sangria at Cafe Iberico, I decided to do a riff on Sangria of my own.

Red Sangria

1 bottle 750ml Red Wine – cheap is good, in this case I used Sutter Home Zinfandel  which was a whole $6 at the County Market
1/3 cup. Orange Juice
1/3 cup simple syrup w/ kirschwasser (Lucky’s choice sprinkling on her cakes)
1/3 cup Triple Sec
1/3 cup Brandy / I used Calvados because it is what I had

1 cup white grapes split

1 cup blue berries

1 cup strawberries split

2 plums sectioned
1 lime sectioned
1 cup cherries split
1 long sprig mint
2 sprigs basil
3 whole star anise
Seltzer water *we just used Faygo flavored water for top up

In a large pitcher combine all fruit;blueberries, strawberries, grapes, plums, limes, cherries and herbs (mint and basil) and spices (star anise).   Pour in 1 bottle of wine and other components; triple sec, brandy, syrup and orange juice. Stir to combine. Put in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
To serve, portion some fruit into a glass, then pour the glass 3/4 full. Top up with seltzer.

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Ahh yes….the great argument regarding “pink” wine.  I am a devoteé of true pink wines in the summertime.  White Zinfandel does not count.  Pinks scream “warm, breezy evenings on the porch” without the hot flush of a true red wine.  Charmed and I were perusing the local Sam’s Club Tuesday when we encountered this:

It’s Codorniu Pinot Noir Rosé.  Not only was it pink but it was fizzy AND pink!!!  I was excited!  This lovely brut cava spoke of raspberries and strawberries with a hint of citrus on the finish.  It was only $10.50.  Yesterday was the last day at my job and we felt the need to celebrate a bit.  I didn’t feel the least bit crazy dragging out my Waterford Peace toasting flutes for this inexpensive sparkler. Charmed made a pithy toast to “May you find peace….” and after I glared at him over my glass while trying not to laugh, he choked on his cava a bit.  Serves him right.  😉 

In seriousness, I don’t think you can go wrong with Spanish cava.  I’ve found the price to always be affordable and the offerings to be quality.  I enjoyed this sparkler, Charmed’s pseudo-toast, and my (hopefully!) new-found peace.  You can read more about Codorniu and their offerings here.  I’ll be heading back to Sam’s for more!

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A Simple Sparkler

I love Champagne, sparkling wine, Cava …. anything with fizz.

So tonight after a particularly difficult day at work I broke into the wine cellar for a bottle of bubbles.  I picked a bottle of Cristalino Brut, a Spanish Cava.  The price point on this bottle is a very friendly $5.99 at World Market in Champaign.


The bubbles are plentiful with a nice, yeasty nose.  I was worried about bizarre flavor for a bottle so inexpensive, but I was pleasantly surprised with crisp green apple notes and undertones of toast and pear.  The finish is virtually non-existent.  By the time you swallow there’s little if anything left.  Residual flavors continue to focus on the apple, but those are minimal.

All in all a decent bottle of cava for $6.  While I wouldn’t serve it at one of my grandest soirees, I would definitely consider this a great option as a toasting wine for wedding receptions and parties where the majority of the attendees are not schooled in wine. 

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