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Julia Reed's sassy new book is full of recipes, reminisces and reasons to enjoy life

Looking for a great Mother's Day gift idea? I just finished “But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!: Adventures in Eating, Drinking, and MakingMerry.” The sassy and fun turn is written by New Orleans resident Julia Reed, a frequent television commentator, former reporter for the Orlando Sentinel and a contributing editor at Garden & Gun magazine.

A master storyteller, Reed gives readers an insider’s view of her native Mississippi Delta and Florida’s Gulf Coast as well as snippets of her global travels. Sip a perfect Pimm’s Royale with her at the Paris Ritz and learn entertaining tips from accomplished hostesses ranging from Pat Buckley to Pearl Bailey and, of course, Reed’s own mother. Today, I share an inspired sangria recipe — with vodka, of course. Enjoy!

Summer Sangria

Makes about 3 quarts, or enough for 12 to 14 drinks

6 cups full-bodied dry wine such as merlot or chardonnay

2 cups simple syrup

1 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

3 ounces white rum, preferably Bacardi

3 ounces vodka

1 ounce orange liqueur

1 ounce brandy

Ice

3 cups (or more, as needed) chopped fresh seasonal fruit

1. Combine wine, simple syrup, orange and pineapple juices, rum, gin, triple sec, and brandy in a large glass pitcher.

2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.

3. Fill wine glasses with ice and arrange a half cup of the chopped fruit in each. Pour the sangria into the glasses and serve.

Recipe notes: Pair berries, apples and plums with red sangria or peaches, nectarines and melons with white sangria. Citrus adds balance to both. Use increments as a guide, adjusting distilled spirits, wines and liqueurs to taste. Adapted From Danny Meyer's Mix Shake Stir

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