Global warming or just that time of year called Summer, we are nearing the dog days and it is hot. We are beyond warm, or a little touched by the heat, we are in full flip-flop mode and portable fans.
Now, I don’t always think it necessary to pair wine with food. As I have said before, drink what you like and choose the guidelines if you wish. But, I do tend to make a deciding factor on what I drink based on the weather. To me when it is hot, it is the time to keep the drink a little lighter and sometimes even a little sweeter. Warning: If you make it too light and too sweet you may drink too fast due to dehydration, be careful.
One of my favorite drinks to cool down the heat, is Sangria. There are many kinds, but typically there are three version for you to choose from: a red, a white and a cava (sparkling wine). My favorite place for Sangria and Cuban/Spanish Cuisine is The Columbia in Ybor City, FL (Tampa).
This place is very much a destination place when you visit Tampa, in particular, Ybor City. Known for it’s “Cuban” Cigars, it is hard to get much more authentic than actually going to Cuba. This is a very eclectic neighborhood that is continuously improving and free roaming chickens. Go see for yourselves, believe.
So, back to it being hot, this place alongside it’s great food is known for it’s sangria. The Columbia has packaged a mix to help you in the process and I have used it, and liked it. Now, I didn’t have all the fruit on hand to make it pretty but I can tell you, temps in the high 80s to low 90s and it was refreshing and on point. Pics below don’t do it justice, but the ones after will, I promise:
Due to the Spanish origins, I use a Rioja wine to make the red sangria. Again, we did not have much fruit, so we used limes and grapes. But, I highly suggest you try oranges in the mix. The Cerro Anon Rioja from 2009 was perfect for this blend that had me lounging on my deck admiring the grass that probably needs to be mowed, but it’s hot, so I tell my son, the lawn can wait till manana as I don’t want to hear the rumble of the push engine catching grass. Nor, do I want to hear him whine about mowing the yard, that would get in the way of the only whine I tolerate and that is wine, without an “h”.
Now, if for some reason, you are not experiencing the mercury rising in your neck of the woods, here are some songs that may put that feeling into play for you. In no particular order of heat index, here are some great songs to enjoy your Sangria:
In the Summertime by Mungo Cherry (1 Hit Wonder)
But if you don’t want songs that sing about being hot, or heat or summer, I believe this new song by Justin Timberlake, should be the 2016 song of Summer. What do you think?
Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake
Now, back to the Sangria. My recent trip to The Columbia, we tried the Sangria Cava, which is Sangria using a Spanish sparkling wine. The pictures will show some of the process and I will attach the link and post recipe to the refreshing blend that made one forget for a brief second that all the temps said, 90+, it felt like over 100 on the thermometer.
This was so yummy! The recipe from their website is as follows:
Sangria de Cava (Sparkling Wine Sangria)
Columbia’s sparkling white sangria is great for a fancy brunch.
1 375 ml bottle of Cava (or any sparkling wine)
¼ ounce Torres 5 Brandy (or any Spanish brandy)
¼ ounce Gran Torres Liqueur (or any orange liqueur)
Splash of lemon-lime soda
Cherries for garnish
Cut orange and lime in half. Fill large pitcher with ice and combine the wine, brandy, liqueur, lemon-lime soda, the juice of half of an orange and the juice of half a lime. Stir. Add simple syrup to obtain desired sweetness. Slice remaining orange and lime into thin slices. Garnish glasses with orange, lime and cherry.
* To make simple syrup, combine one part water to one part sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Chill before use. Serves 4.
As I mentioned previously, you can purchase their mix to aid you in the assistance of your perfect Sangria. I suggest you stick to Spanish wines the Riojas, Cavas to make it as authentic and delicious as possible, but as I always say, drink what you like. So, experiment among yourselves. Let me know how it turns out.Click on The Columbia Gift Shop to purchase your mix.
Lastly, my last visit was timed with the timely return of my brother and his wife from Spain and Portugal. My love of wine runs in the family and to let you know how they are using cork in the Mediterranean other than to top off a bottle, I give you the cork shoe. Yes, I am now going to have to get a pair, but for now, here is a picture of cork shoes on my brother’s feet. Salud!