I'm relatively certain that my ancestors that sailed the North Atlantic spent a good bit of time singing "What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor?" Despite my landlocked upbringing, I grew up next to the largest river in the United States, with its own Coast Guard station, and have a handful of Naval veterans in the immediate family tree. Aside from that, the character on this blog formerly known as The Girlfriend spent some significant parts of her childhood living on Tonga, a remote set of islands a third of the way between New Zealand and Hawai'i. Strangely, almost none of the stories passed down to me from these acquaintances involve drunken sailors. But what do you do with a half drunk bottle, what do you do with a half drunk bottle, what do you with a half drunk bottle that wasn't great at first?
Grab some fruit, spirits, and a pitcher, and make thee sangria, ya landlubber. Right now my hometown of Memphis is hot. Plant some potatoes, and you can harvest them in a few weeks fully baked and begging for some sour cream. Due to the oppressive heat and humidity, many choose to switch from red to white (or even better, rosé), and the end result is a lot of half-empty bottles of red wine. Perfect opportunity to make sangria. There's no one recipe, no perfect technique, just combine wine and fruit and some spirits, let everything sit for a few hours, and either serve over ice or cold with sparkling water. For the attached photo, here's what I used:
Sangria de Benito
Creme de Cassis
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
Combine everything and lightly crush the berries--don't fully muddle them, but do enough to release some of the juices. I used about half a bottle each of Cab Sav and Sav Blanc, plus a cup or so of Triple Sec, a few tablespoons of Creme de Cassis... The specific proportions and ingredients really aren't important. Part is going to involve the sweetness of the components, and the other will involve the balance of said components. Play around with everything until it tastes good to you, and then let it rest for a while so that everything can meld together.
The final product is so much fun and so refreshing that you'll smack yourself for not taking better advantage of wine leftovers in the past. The citrus and spirits and other stuff will kill off the nuances of good wine, but anything that's stuck in the back of the fridge will work in terms of making a decent wine cocktail. Kick back, sit on the porch, and listen to the bugs and tree frogs as the sun goes down. It's a good reminder that, as painful as our summers can be, there are some great ways to appreciate the season.