In 2006, I went to Spain to visit my little brother who was studying (or should I say, traveling and partying year-round) in Madrid. It was a great brother-sister trip – we hung out in Madrid and Barcelona, then flew to Lyon, France, and met up with our cousin, who then went with us to Paris (where I walked right past J. Alexander on a bridge!).
But as much as I liked France, I loved Spain. One of my fondest memories was meeting up with my dorm mate from my freshman year in college, Sheetal (shout out to my fellow Sierrans! Woohoo!!). She and I bought a pitcher of sangria, a few tapas, and laid out in the middle of Plaza de Mayor, catching up on life and loves while enjoying the sun on the cobblestone. Call me cheesy, but that’s something I’ll always remember when I think about sangria – reconnecting with an old friend, people watching in the Plaza, soaking in the architecture and basking in the warmth of the culture. I don’t know how to explain the vibe I got from Spain; it’s like how you feel when your grandmother wraps her arms around you. Just warm and all content inside. Maybe that’s why, years later, Sheetal’s still living there.
Here are some pics of my Spanish experience, circa 2006….
My brother and I at Plaza de Mayor, in Madrid
Oh yes. Paella and gazpacho. I love you. I remember this lunch very well.
For my first meal right off the plane, my brother and I shared some bocadillos. Little baguette sandwiches – I love the portions in Europe!
So raise your glasses – here’s a toast, with my (skinnier) version of sangria. There’s all sorts of ways you can make it, but I added in some light cranberry/pomegranate juice, orange blossom water, and diet tonic water (or club soda) for extra sweetness sans calories. And oh yes, I loaded up on the fruits, with cherries being my fave when it’s summer. Hope you enjoy!
serves about 12
2 navel oranges, cut into halves and sliced
3 black or red plums, cut into halves, deseeded and sliced
2 apples, diced
2 cups pitted cherries
1.5 liters cabernet sauvignon (or your fave red wine)
4 cups light cranberry-pomegranate juice (or just light cranberry juice)
1 – 1/2 Tbsp orange blossom water (you can use Cointreau or Triple Sec as well)
2 cups club soda or diet tonic water (whatever is to your liking)
1. Stir all ingredients, except for the club soda (or diet tonic water) in a large bowl. Refrigerate for about 4 hours until chilled (this will also let the flavors marry together). Before serving, stir in the diet tonic water or club soda. Add more juice or wine to taste, then serve!
Nutrition Facts per serving (1 serving is about 1 cup sangria + fruit): 155 calories, 0.1 grams fat, 16 grams carbs, 0 grams protein