Sangria

March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

When I think Sangria, I conjure images of vegging-out in the grass in the hazy, late-afternoon sun.  Enter: Tucson, Arizona.  Enter: Lazy Regina.  Fellas, it was 85 degrees today and it’s supposed to be 87 tomorrow!  After a full day in the toasty kitchen where I roasted rutabagas for an orzo + citrus salad, sliced the last of the butternut squash to mix with my favorite tahini dressing and bubbled rice for a few portable lunches this week, I leaned back against a pile of clean dishes with a cold glass in hand.  In a room filled with good smells, I sipped this bubbly drink while a batch of espresso chocolate chips spread out in the oven.

This sangria is sweetened with agave nectar – a natural, unprocessed sweetener like honey and maple syrup made from sap extracted from the agave plant.  But unlike honey and maple syrup, agave nectar has a mild, neutral flavor and dissolves immediately in liquids, making it an ideal sweetener in mixed drinks.  You can purchase agave nectar at many grocery chains (like Whole Foods).  I purchased mine from Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit in Tucson that conserves and distributes native borderland seeds and seeks to preserve the agricultural and culinary knowledge of their uses.

This drink is best consumed a few hours after it’s prepared because the bubbly water will go flat in time.  However, let me reassure you that the leftovers, while not quite as perky, are still pleasantly palatable!  (Although you may want to remove the cinnamon sticks if you plan to keep leftovers for more than a day.)

Ingredients:
1 bottle inexpensive red wine of your preference
1 cup sparkling water
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
3 cinnamon sticks
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced

Methods:

Three hours before serving, combine all liquids in a pitcher.  Stir in agave nectar.  Slice orange and lemon; add to liquids along with cinnamon sticks.  Refrigerate and serve over ice cubes when ready to drink.

Diet Notes: Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free

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