Sunday, April 5, 2015

Beverages

Living on a budget does not mean you cannot enjoy yourself. While a glass of ice water costs pennies, every now and then you want a little flavor and pizazz. Take advantage of in-season ingredients from your own yard, garden or CSA, or use foraged fruits, herbs and spices to keep costs under control. The right beverage for the weather soothes a sore throat, eases an upset stomach or stimulates the taste buds, making meals more enjoyable. A book of homemade holiday drink recipes makes a welcome hostess gift or token of appreciation for friends, neighbors and the people whose services make your community an enjoyable place to live.

Sangria Punch: Shiraz Box Wine Recipe

Box wines are both affordable and delicious and make excellent mixers. Mix Shiraz box wine with fresh summer fruit for a flavorful sangria punch for your wedding or beach party. Shiraz is a rich red wine with intense blackberry, plum and pepper flavors that pair well with red meats, wild game, pizza and other spicy dishes when mixed into sangria.

Large punch bowl
Glass pitcher
Sangria glasses
1 box Shiraz wine (I prefer Franzia)
4 whole blood oranges
3 lemons
1 lb. fresh strawberries
4 fresh peaches
4 nectarines
4 Asian pears
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 liters ginger ale (Canada Dry tastes best)

Pour the Shiraz wine into a large punch bowl and allow it to warm to at least 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice the oranges and lemons 1/4-inch thick. Cut the tops off the strawberries and cut them in half. Cut the Asian pears in half from stem to base. Substitute Mutsu apples if you cannot find Asian pears.

Cut around the peaches and nectarines up to the pits and twist them to separate the two halves. Remove and discard the pits. Slice the peach, nectarine and pear halves.

Toss all the fruit in sugar until well-coated. Drop all the sliced fruit into the punch bowl to soak in the Shiraz wine overnight.

Add the ginger ale and stir gently to mingle all the flavors.

Serve your Shiraz punch in sangria glasses, which have a large bowl that nips in about an inch from the top and flares back out. Pair Shiraz sangria punch with pizza and spring green salad, enchiladas and guacamole or buffalo, beef or venison steaks and corn on the cob.

References:

Resources:
"Wine News"; The Barossa Valley; Gerald D. Boyd; Feb./Mar 1999

Icy Ginger Lemonade

Keep your cool when summer temperatures rise with a tall glass of frosty ginger lemonade. The ginger soothes your stomach while the lemonade and ice cool your body. Find a comfy lounge chair in the shade, kick back to your favorite tunes and sip away.

Ingredients and Utensils
4 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated ginger
32-oz. beverage glass
4 tbsp. plus 24 oz. water
Crushed ice
Beverage spoon or muddler
Crushed ice
Straw

Pour 4 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. grated ginger into a 32-oz. beverage glass. Stir the sugar and lemon juice with a beverage spoon or muddler while tilting the glass, until the sugar and juice are completely mixed. Add 4 tbsp. water and stir again.

Add crushed ice to within an inch of the lip of the glass. Fill with water and stir again, pressing the muddler through the ice and pulling back up to bring the juice from the bottom of the glass to the top. Sip slowly and allow your taste buds to appreciate the lemon and ginger while the crushed ice cools you.

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