Cherry Red Sangria

or a simple and sweet adult beverage for sizzling Summer days

I love being a "hostess" to our friends and family because I love having the opportunity to try out new recipes and share my favorite foods, but I do tend to get a little over zealous sometimes.  So I've found ways to limit how much I make depending on the type of gathering.  For instance - if it is a holiday party, I make desserts in advance and restrict myself to one side dish by asking others to bring sides to pass.  In the warmer months, I have taken to making an "adult beverage" as one of my menu items.  This way I can still feel like I am making something special for the day without heating up the kitchen any more then necessary, and what better Summer-time drink then a fresh and fruity sangria?   Light and refreshing, it is a great compliment to grilling and fresh veggies alike.

I've been practicing my recipe for over a year now, and I have to say - I am definitely pleased with the results!  I've had great feedback on each concoction and this final version has recently received a gold seal of approval on the tasting grounds.  To start, I love the flavor of cherry wine so cherry juice was a must in the base ingredients.  You can play around with the type of red wines for the foundation depending on what type of wine you like.  I like to use one that is lighter and sweeter (either a "chillable" red or a nice "table wine") along with something heavier like a Merlot or Sangiovese for a good medium bodied balance overall.  You may want to go all lighter or all heavier depending on what flavors you lean towards personally.  The recipe is really simple, all it takes is some prep work and time to marinate, it's a great way to add a personal touch to any gathering whether you cook, have it catered, or go potluck style.  Here's how it's done:

Red Wine - 2 bottles

Cherry Juice - 2 cups
Lemon Juice - ⅓ cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Orange - 1 large sweet
Lemon - 1 large
Lime - 2 small
Cherries - 1 cup dark, frozen
Ginger Ale - 4 cups

1. Add red wine to a large pitcher or bowl and stir in sugar until it is fully dissolved.  Stir in the cherry juice and lemon juice to incorporate.

2. Slice the orange, lemon, and limes into rings and add to the wine mixture along with the frozen cherries. Let marinate at least overnight in the refrigerator.

3. Stir well. Drain into another pitcher through a fine mesh strainer to remove pulp.  

4. Stir in the ginger ale and serve chilled.  If desired, you can add some freshly sliced fruit for presentation before serving.

Remember... adults only!  Sorry kids, but homemade pudding pops are decent consolation prize.  Enjoy!

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