New Favorite: Sassy Sangria

I’ll always remember this period of time, not because of COVID-19, but because I was let go from my full-time dream job in December.

I decided three things: get rid of Facebook, exercise more, and write a play.

By now, I’ve written five short plays, taken a 10-minute play workshop, and joined a script writing group through Winston-Salem Writers. It feels even more natural to me than writing prose and poetry, which I’ve slaved over for decades. And I’m reading more than I ever have before, even when I was getting my masters in literature.

All this hard work naturally deserves some play. I’ve gotten into lower ABV stuff, miraculously, like wine spritzers and cocktails with club soda. I actually found some great low-ABV beers, too, like Misty Haze Pale Ale (4.5%) from Southern Pines and Proper Fit ESB (4.3%) from Wooden Robot. (Thanks to Beer Growler for introducing me!)

But one of my new favorites is a make-by-the-glass sangria.

I used to be a traditionalist. Bruce Heye, the Wine Guy (R.I.P.), gave me a recipe for a real fruit sangria years ago, and I’ve made it for my family multiple times, both red and white wine versions. I quickly realized the fruit soaks up a lot of the booze, and most people don’t eat it, so I started cutting corners: squeezing in the lime and orange juices, pureeing the strawberries.

Now, I know all that work isn’t necessary. I recently took a tip from Nik Snacks, and I kissed my old recipe goodbye.

Not only does this taste better, but I can be lazy. It’s also drunk-proof: that is, when you’re drunk, you can still make a glass relatively* flawlessly.  (*The amount of flawless is up to your blood alcohol level.)

I used cognac because I had it on hand, and I left out berries because I thought I was out. I’ve since used peach brandy, but I didn’t like it nearly as much as the cognac. NEVER AGAIN will I make sangria without it.


Although this pic is indoors, my recipe is outdoor-certified. Throw in an ice cube, and you’re good to go.

Sassy Sangria

5 ounces red wine (I like HT’s $2.99 Oak Creek Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 ounce cognac (I used Courvoisier, a brand owned by Bean Suntory. Make it Suntory time.)
3 ounces-ish of orange juice
simple syrup to taste
club soda to taste
dash of lemon juice, if desired

Add ingredients over ice. Measure approximately. Taste and add more of anything. Sit back and soak in the sass.

Adapted from Nik Snacks


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