Sangria, Paris, & Hooters, Oh My!

I've been on a Sangria kick lately. I had forgotten just how delicious it can be. This rediscovered love started last week after my daughter had to have an MRI. She wasn't allowed to eat after 9:15 in the morning and was starving when we walked out of Le Bonheur at 3:30 in the afternoon. We asked her where she wanted to eat and she said, wait for it... Hooters. She had never been there before but has a dedicated fondness for hot wings. We have ordered take-out wings from there on many occasions, but to request to go there was just too funny. After calling a couple of friends of mine that had daughters and asking for their opinion and advice on taking your girl-children to Hooters, we decided to go for it. Of course right when the girl was taking our order, my youngest daughter asks, "Mom, what does "hooters" mean anyway?" And so it goes...

Now I know that Hooters really isn't the best place for Sangria, but I didn't want beer or a cocktail, and for heaven's sake, definitely not straight up wine from there, so I went for the sangria. It was very drinkable and the sweetness went well with the wings. It was good enough to order a second glass and was a great stress-reliever for a very worrisome day.

My mom, sister, and nephew are coming over for Sunday lunch today. I'm doing my roasted chicken, roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts, chocolate pie with praline sauce (sauce, because the pralines didn't work...never using Martha's recipe for pralines again, ever!), and homemade Sangria.

For Christmas, my husband got me a case of assorted wines, hand-selected by a wine distributor friend of ours. I have a couple of half bottles left, so what better use than to make some homemade Sangria. After mixing my sangria together, I was transported back to December 1998 in Paris at a Spanish Tapas restaurant where all 8 of us (me, husband, mom, and 5 other friends) sat passing plates, trying delicacies from other far-off places, and sipping sangria while the snow blasted the cobblestone. If I had some fried fresh sardines right now and a cigarette, it would be 1998 in my house right now. But here I am, in the country, cigarette-free for over 14 years, and sipping sangria with my beautiful family, happy, healthy, full of delicious memorable smells, and soon-to-be full of a lovely Sunday lunch. How blessed?!

Oops....I forgot to take a picture of our sangria today. We drank the pitcher and ate the fruit. Beware of the fruit! The picture above is one of the restaurant we ate at in Paris, Casa Tina. All pictures from 1998 are not digital! Thank you to "Let's Go Paris 1998" for their recommendation on Casa Tina all those years ago. I really don't know if it's still a good tapas place or if their sangria made the food taste good and the memories better, but that was then and this is now and my sangria today was damn tasty!

Yield: 3 quarts

1 bottle good red wine
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup triple sec
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2-1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 nectarines, sliced
1 small apple, diced
1 lime, half thinly sliced, half quartered
1 lemon, half thinly sliced, half quartered
1 clementine/orange/mandarin, half thinly sliced, half quartered
2 quarts sparkling water

Combine the wine, brandy, triple sec, sugar, orange juice, nectarines, and apple; stir to combine. Leave in the frig overnight. Two hours before serving, add all the citrus and muddle it in the wine mixture. Add the sparkling water right before serving. I don't add the citrus overnight because it tends to make it bitter from the white pith of the citrus fruits.
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