As a general rule, sangrias should be sweet (but not overly so), fruity (but not overpowering), and entirely refreshing. They should also be relatively simple to make, contain as few ingredients as possible, and not cost a fortune. To me, this drink represents summer in a glass. I can't tell you what kind of wine we use -- part of the secret -- or the quantities of the other "special" ingredients, but I can tell you this: made in advance, with enough time for the wine base to acquire as much citrus juice as possible, sangria can taste so smooth that you'll hardly remember you're drinking anything alcoholic.
Allow me a moment to introduce my newest (and current favorite) kitchen toy: the mandoline. Purchased with the remnants of a wedding giftcard that I'd saved for delayed gratification, this little gem made the sangria-making experience a whole new kind of pleasure. Normally, slicing citrus fruit is everyone's least favorite chore: slippery and tough, the oranges, lemons, and limes have caused me some rather painful moments in the past.
But no longer! After cutting each fruit in half, I simply set the height of the slicer, wet the slide, and got to cutting perfect little slices.
See? Painless perfection.
I can't wait to use this ingenious invention a lot more in the future, particularly for other hard-to-cut ingredients like potatoes. Did I mention it comes with multiple reversible blades for slices, waffle-cuts, and even julienne cuts? Oh yes. For someone with limited upper-body strength, the mandoline makes precision-cutting an absolute dream.
So, after all that slicing, it was time to mix a little, taste a little, and let the whole thing sit until it was ready to travel. The fizz ingredient was added just before serving, and we had a lovely container of summer sangria waiting for us every time we needed something to drink (I strongly recommend drink dispensers as ideal containers for large-quantity concoctions).
Oh, heaven. Served over ice in a nice tall glass -- mini umbrella optional -- dad's recipe just can't be beat. I hope to someday make my own spin-off version, but for now, I'll enjoy sharing the flavors of summer with anyone who asks for a drink. Refills, anyone?