Happy Hour // Strawberry Sangria

Today is a holiday weekend edition of Happy Hour! I thought about creating something festive, but truthfully, the red, white and blue drinks floating around Pinterest didn’t look very appealing to me, and creating a flag-themed beverage sounded like too much work. It is so hot here, and I knew I didn’t want to put a lot of effort into this. We’re keeping our 4th of July pretty low key this year, with no parties or BBQs, so I wanted to create something we could enjoy, but not slave over.

If you’re a country music fan like myself, you might have had a certain Blake Shelton song rolling around in your mind for the past few weeks. The song planted a seed, and after hearing about my mom’s many ventures in sangria over the past year, I decided to try it out myself.

This is my first try at sangria. I know, it’s a little bold to commit to sharing with y’all my first attempt. However, it is such a simple drink to make, that can really be modified to your liking, so it’s hard to go wrong. With the high temperatures, it was tempting to go for a white wine sangria, but B doesn’t drink white wine, and I wanted to start with a more traditional recipe. I chose the recipe I did because I’m not a fan of apples, which are traditionally found in sangria, and wanted to use strawberries, instead.

This sangria is sweet and fruity without losing the dry, tannic qualities of the wine. It’s the perfect thing to sip while complaining about the heat ;)

1 bottle red wine (I used pinot noir, but would have preferred a Spanish varietal if I could find it)
1/4 cup brandy – less???more???
1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur (I used Grand Marnier, because we had it)
Juice of 1/2 large orange
1/2 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1/2 lb. strawberries, sliced
Optional: club soda or sparkling water

HOW TO MAKE IT // recipe adapted from The Primalist
In a pitcher, combine all ingredients except ice and sparkling water. Stir together, cover and place in the refrigerator. Chill and let it steep for at least 12 hours, but no more than 2 days. When ready to serve, pour into a glass over ice. If preferred, top with sparkling water and garnish glass with orange and strawberry slices. Sip and enjoy!

Optional: Play Sangria in the background ;)