RED SANGRIA

While cooking, listen to this: Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin

New York is a serendipitous place, isn't it? I'm pretty sure there's some god-awful 90's rom-com about just that, but isn't there always some kind of truth even in the cheesiest of things? 

After nearly two years of living mere blocks apart and never running into each other, an old friend and I have bumped into each other two weeks in a row - same time, same place. Living in New York, the hustle and bustle certainly gets to you and we so rarely take a breath and slow things down. Running into him and stopping to chat was almost like taking a deep breath of fresh air in this overcrowded city. It gave me the chance to stop and think, clear my head and remind myself how sometimes life bumps you in weird directions with, what seems like a bullying attitude, but really is just a friendly nudge.

And that's exactly what sangria does. Slows you down (in more ways than one, might I add.)

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Sangria is typically associated with summer, but who says you can't spice up your Passover seder with big jugs of deliciousness? Often times with the holidays, things get hectic. My house is always reeking of gefilte fish as my mom runs around trying to get everything done just in time for the Seder. On top of that, this year Michigan will be play in the Final Four while we're sitting around reminding ourselves we were once slaves in Egypt. To say I'm anticipating a frenzied weekend is an understatement. That's why I need this sangria. Four cups of wine is fun in it's own right, but four cups of wine soaked fruit is an added bonus. 

One of things I love about Judaism is that every holiday-related food you eat has a double meaning. On Passover, the holiday is practically littered with symbolism, from the bitter herbs we try to choke down to the salt water "tears" we dip our spring vegetable in. There are even some myths about a sexist rabbi and an orange. Whether or not these things are verbatim reminders or just tasty traditions, it's cool to think that food is supposed to get you to stop and think. 

So, maybe you won't find a pitcher of sangria on your traditional Seder plate, but why not change it up this holiday season? After all, you're supposed to kick back and appreciate your freedom during Passover, so why not kick back with a reminder that summer is on the brink? 

And if you don't celebrate Passover, which I presume most of you don't, let this be a reminder to take a second and chill. Take a deep breath, enjoy the sunshine that comes with longer days, run into an old friend and make sangria. While a bottle of Spanish wine is nice, taking the time to turn it into Sangria can almost be deemed self-care. Because who doesn't associate Sangria with lazy summer days? Anything to shake off the last bit of winter's chill sounds like a good time to me.

xo, Alyssa


RED SANGRIA

Yield: 4 ½ cups

Total Time: 5m

Category: Drinks

Source: Minimalist Baker

Special Equipment: pitcher, muddler/wooden spoon


Ingredients

½ apple, with peel, cored and chopped into small pieces

½ orange, with rind, de-seeded sliced into small pieces

3-4 Tablespoons brown sugar

¾ cup orange juice

⅓ cup brandy, plus more to taste

1 750 milliliter bottle dry Spanish red wine

Ice for chilling, about 1 cup

Instructions

Add the apple, orange and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon for 45 seconds. Add orange juice and brandy and muddle for another 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and stir to incorporate. Add more brandy or orange juice to taste. Add ice, stir one more time to chill, and serve.

This can be made up to 48 hours in advance, but is best when served immediately.