No, I have not forgotten you, my dear readers. I have been distracted with the World Cup (but you already knew that), the long days and an unfortunate encounter that left me questioning my faith in humanity. But beyond all of that, just as I was about to sit down to publish this post last Sunday, anticipating the champions previously selected by a German cephalapod, my digestive tract decided to rebel, denying me any sleep and obliterating all plans in the process. After two whole days stuck in bed and another two spent regaining strength, life is finally returning to normal.
And the timing couldn’t be any better.
In the words of a former co-worker on waning Friday afternoons, “It’s Sangria Weather”. Code words for a countdown to office Happy Hours. Long days, shorts, flip flops and summer dresses do wonders for the mood and life feels like one big celebration. Like anything is possible, and every opportunity is there for the taking. Have you ever felt this way? It doesn’t quite qualify as ‘inspiration’ or ‘ambition’, not in the traditional sense at least, it’s more like a current of energy, propelling one to meet life head-on.
Perhaps the rhythm of the seasons are provoking these reflections; the temporality of everything we put on our plate and into our mouths only heightens my awareness of the impermanent nature of everything around us. It’s the middle of July and already there’s so much of summer I want to bottle up, preserve and immortalize, before it makes way for Fall. There is no time to waste!
And so this variation on one of my favorite cocktails. A Summer Sangria, where peaches and nectarines stand in for the apples that we traditionally use, the mix of alcohols slowly coaxing their summer sweetness to add to the pool of flavor. You’ll want to use young and firm stone fruit, rather than ripe and soft ones, as the former will maintain their shape and hold up to the alcohol better, the longer you let the cocktail sit.
Summer Sangria (for one 750ml bottle of rioja; makes about 8 to 10 servings)
2 pounds/ 1 kg organic young peaches and nectarines, cut into half-inch cubes
Half a navel orange, cut into eighths
1 meyer lemon, cut into eighths or smaller, depending on the size of the lemon
1 bottle rioja
3 tablespoons grand marnier
2 tablespoons armagnac
1 tablespoon white rum
16 fl oz/ 472 ml apple juice
Place the peaches, nectarines, orange and lemon cubes into a large pot or glass/ceramic bowl. Add the wine, liquors, apple juice and mix. Give the concoction a taste and correct it to your desired level of sweetness by adding more apple juice.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled and consume within a week.