Thursday, July 7, 2016

California Burgundy Refresher


I’m not sure when we started drinking proper Sangria in California, but I've read that it was introduced to the US at the 1964 World's Fair. Clearly, by 1968, we were mixing up versions of this delightful Spanish beverage with wine, fruit and sometimes juice. This recipe comes from the adorably earnest 1968 publication: “Gourmet Wine Cooking The Easy Way” which was put together by the Wine Advisory Board in San Francisco and is something close to sangria, called a “refresher”. Proper sangria also includes cut up fruit and often brandy or another strong liquor, and sits overnight so the flavors really mix, but this fast version is delicious too. It’s a little more of a punch, which was big for 100 years prior, but begins to use uncomplicated local ingredients and you can see it’s a step towards the Gourmet Food movement of the 1970s.

Gourmet, the easy way...

I love spritzers and sangrias in hot weather, and rarely consult a recipe for them but often just mix up wine, alcohol and fruit, whatever I have around. To serve, I usually add ice and sparkling water to dilute it, but juice is nice as well. In this case, I used pomegranate juice rather than cranberry-apple “drink” (PS I don’t buy anything called “drink”!) and I also garnished my glass with a lemon as well as the called-for mint. It’s yummy but next time, I will mix up a big pitcher-full and add light rum or brandy, and sparkling water. Also, crushed ice - giggle! How 50s!

A note on drinking sangria and punch in general: Since you usually don’t pay close attention to the quantity you’re drinking like you do with cocktails, make sure you dilute with sparkling water or juice, and try to count the times you refill your glass… you’ll thank me later, when you can still stand after guzzling the deceptive concoction all day long in the sun!

Crushed Ice
2 cups California Burgundy
2 cups cranberry-apple drink
Mint sprigs for garnish

The board doesn't seem to exist any longer, but you can rent office space in this building, built in 1907 and which has been LEED certified. Hello, California!