Brunch, Drink

Red wine sangria (or make it virgin)

Red wine sangria (or make it virgin)

I usually make a batch of sangria at least once a year. It’s definitely the most refreshing way to enjoy wine in the summer!

This is strong and not overly sweet when it is chilled and it does need to be served chilled. There’s quite a bit of added brandy to make up for the added juice and it is likely strong enough to serve with your choice of fizzy water (sparkling water, club soda, etc), which you’ll want to add in just before serving to prevent it from going flat. And you can always add more brandy later if the sangria turns out to not be stiff enough for your taste!

I drink it on the rocks without anything added because I’m not a big fan of fizzy drinks and it’s strong enough that I typically won’t want more than one glass. If you’re like me, you might actually want to start with only 1/2 cup of the brandy and then add more as needed.

You don’t need to use good wine to make sangria. I make it using half of a jug of wine and I’ve used boxed wine, as well.

The yield of this recipe is large enough to make it worth the work of hand-squeezing citrus but not large enough that I end up feeling sick of sangria and not wanting it again for a year. I hand-squeeze the citrus into a glass measuring cup with a spout and I put a strainer over the mouth of the measuring cup to catch any seeds and pulp. It’s hard to tell how much juice citrus will yield; choose softer oranges and limes and get extra just in case. That being said, there’s quite a bit of fruit in this sangria. You can use half the fruit if you won’t want to garnish every glass with steeped fruit.

I like to cut the fruit into slices because it is much prettier and photogenic that way, and because the fruit is heavier so it’s less likely to hit you in the face as you drink it (I know you know what I’m talking about!). But it is easier to serve when the fruit is cut into wedges.

If you’d like to add berries, you can add them right before you serve the sangria. Strawberries in particular will fade and gray.

When I make sangria for parties, I usually make a virgin batch as well. The recipe is pretty much the same but I replace the wine and brandy with grape juice and I reduce or skip the added sugar since juice already has lots of sugar.

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Dessert, Fruit, Key lime, Lime, Snack

Key lime pie popsicles

Key lime pie popsicles

Now that summer is in full bloom, we almost always have a batch of popsicles in our freezer. It’s usually the strawberry raspberries ones, which are still my favorite. But when we’re feeling fancy, we make these key lime pie ones. They’re delicious and pretty easy to prepare. Just four ingredients for a rich yet refreshing dessert! The hardest part is waiting for them to set.

We used regular limes here, not key limes, so I guess they’re technically just “lime pie popsicles,” but I don’t think lime pie is a thing? In any case, I had to make these after I ordered a slice of key lime pie at a restaurant, which reminded me a lot of these popsicles except that the pie was too rich and not as tasty so my craving wasn’t satisfied until I remade these. I think that the crunchy graham cracker crumbs add a lot for me. Speaking of which, you have to cover these with graham crackers just before serving, as I learned the hard way. I was a slow poke with this photoshoot and the popsicles melted too much so I popped them back in the freezer but then they came out with soggy crumbs.

The recipe from which this recipe is adapted calls for 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, but our limes are very sour so I only use 2/3 cup. If you’re using limes that are on the sweeter side, use the higher measurement. I got 2/3 cup of lime juice from 6 regular limes that I hand-squeezed, which weighed 0.75 lb (350 g). I always find it hard to tell how juicy limes will be, so I choose softer limes and I get a bunch just in case.

I usually crush the graham crackers with my fingers on the plate on which I serve them. (They’re messy so they need to be served with a plate anyway.) I use half of a graham cracker sheet (2.5″ x 2.25″) per popsicle. I like the bigger chunks so I crush them coarsely and then press each side of the popsicle into the crumbs. I press the smaller crumbs in with my fingers to get the popsicle completely covered and it helps if it melts a tiny bit in the process so I don’t worry about working too quickly if I’m only preparing two popsicles at a time.

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Berries, Raspberries, Snack, Strawberries

Strawberry raspberry homemade popsicles

Strawberry raspberry homemade popsicles on alickofsalt.com

An obsession with store-bought strawberry popsicles turned into an obsession with homemade strawberry popsicles a couple of years ago. We’ve made lots of other types since then but strawberry popsicles, or a variation of them, continue to be our favorite. I loved finding small pieces of fruit in store-bought ones, a fairly rare occurrence, so I’ve always made my fruit popsicles chunky.

If you don’t have a popsicle mold, you can make popsicles in shot glasses or small paper cups. See tips below for directions.

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