Sangría

This is for 4 people/8 servings, so multiply freely. You could make this by the drum if you had to.) 1 "eating" apple (Red or Golden Delicious, say I) straight from the fridge (this is key...it gives no flavor to the drink itself, but is fun to crunch) 2 "juicing" oranges (Valencia, Hamlins, etc.) 1 lemon +/- ¼ cup sugar (superfine if you have it) ¼ cup Triple Sec (use Cointreau or Citronge if you have it around AND you feel posh, DO NOT use Grand Marnier.) 1 bottle (750mm) of cheap red wine, fully refrigerated. Yes, it must be cheap. The better the wine, the worse this will taste. (Tannins, and all that jazz.) If you have a choice, either a very cheap Spanish Rioja wine (hard to find in most places) or a very cheap Merlot or any Beaujolais Nouveau that's still loitering in the stores. You want a really simple, fruity plonk. OK. Although this first step is optional, it adds a ton of excellentness: Use a vegetable peeler to take off -- in big strips, the better to fish them out later if'n y'wanna -- just the orange part of the first orange. Toss that into the vessel you have chosen for assembly of your beverage. Juice the orange you previously peeled and add to the assembly vessel. Throw in the sugar and the Triple Sec. Slice the other orange (I suggest one of those mandolin/hand slicers, but if you feel like taking a knife to fruit, I promise not to bust your groove.) and the lemon AS THINLY AS YOUR PATIENCE WILL ALLOW. Put those in your assembly vessel of choice and mash this all a bit with a wooden spoon, until the sugar is dissolved. Oh, say, about a minute. You want to release the oils from the peels and SOME of the juice. TIP! If you're making sangria for a brigade of people, mash the sliced citrus in a Kitchen-Aid mixer (use the "paddle" and cover the workbowl with plastic wrap or else you will make a mess and your beloved will holler at you...ask me how I know). It's a lot easier on the arm. You can make the mash by the barrel and have it on standby in the refrigerator. If you canNOT find "juice" oranges, the very closest carton orange juice is Florida's Natural. In this case, just slice up a "regular" orange and make up the difference with +/-1 cup of the carton stuff. Anyway. Take the apple (I like the color of the peel, and if you're making a huge batch you can mix and match), core it and dice it small...think "mini marshmallow" size. You can get away with coring and thinly slicing it if you didn't want to bother. Add that to your juice/citrus mash. Add the cold wine and stir. Stash it back in the fridge for an hour or two. Have a healthy tumblerful, for quality control purposes. Some tips for authenticity that do not involve castanets: Sangria is never iced, as dilution is A Bad Thing. If you're going to have this outside, freeze a ziplock bag ¾ full of water and discreetly place it in the pitcher (or punchbowl). Some people save the leftover sangria in ice cube trays for the NEXT batch, but I have never personally witnessed any leftover sangria and consider such tales mere rumors. Also, if you're using a glass or ceramic pitcher, FREEZE it first. Have some (cold!) club soda handy, because topping up w. carbonated water is also a traditional option. Also, since this is a VERY easy going beverage (ahem) you might want something to cut down the strength. Yes, I s'pose you can't stop people from putting ice in their individual sangria glasses, so you just might want to have some alongside. If you are feeling REALLY deranged, you can get those recycled glass tumblers from Crate & Barrel. (Reduce, reuse...refill?) Have fun! -J.

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