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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blood Orange and Campari Sangria

I had anticipated this Sangria to go with the fresh spring rolls I made last weekend, but unfortunately the ice maker in our freezer decided to go on strike for several days. I wasn't sure if it was even considering making ice or not. So, the Sangria had to wait until a few days later. The funny part is that this is not the first unfortunate incident I have had involving spring rolls and sangria.
I was going to tell you about how I found this recipe while spring cleaning last weekend even though it is not anywhere near spring here. It snowed this morning if that gives you any indication. Yet, just as I sat down to write I remembered another time when I tried to make Sangria in college. As far as I can remember it was the last time I tried to make Sangria. I always refer to my years at Northland College as the second time I went to college as I had dropped out the first time and I honestly never thought I would go back. It is amazing what a difference a couple of years makes at that point in your life. I was only 24 years old, yet I felt so much older and really out of touch with the rest of my classmates. I did make a few friends with a small group of girls who lived together and one warm spring we decided that we would have a party at their apartment. I was going to sublet from them for spring semester, so I felt at home there. We decided to make a huge batch of home made egg rolls, the deep-fried kind. My friend Melinda showed me how to make them and roll them up. I still use the same recipe to this day. I have always been a big fan of Sangria and figured that it would also be a good way to serve a crowd on a budget. I'm pretty sure it was my idea (I will take the blame anyway) to start soaking the fruit about a week in advance. I thought that is would make the Sangria really good. Before everyone arrived I took a sip and thought that it tasted a little bland, my friends agreed and we jazzed it up a bit with some more sugar and juice. Even as people arrived I still thought it tasted a bit like watered down Kool-aid. I was trying to take it easy anyway, I probably hadn't had a drink in months and alcohol always goes straight to my head. The egg rolls were a hit and the party started out pretty well and lots of people showed up. Two hours later I noticed that the place was starting to thin out and I also noticed that I had finished several glasses of Sangria and didn't feel as much as a slight buzz. By 10:00 p.m. everyone had gone home and the four of us sat staring into a big jug of spent fruit. It looked a little slimy and gross after sitting in booze for a week. We all sat staring at each other wondering why everyone had gone home so early and even worse why we were all stone cold sober. Then a friend picked a piece of fruit out of the bucket and ate it. She told us it tasted really good. I hesitated, but also took a piece. Before long we were all picking fruit out with our fingers and admiring how wonderful it tasted and wondering why the Sangria hadn't tasted this good. It wasn't long before we were all laughing and carrying on before we realized we were all quite drunk. You see, the fruit having sat all week had absorbed all the alcohol. A lot of alcohol. Five or six pieces was probably the equivalent of five or six shots. We stayed up most of the night playing cards and eating the remainder of the egg rolls. It is still one of my fondest college party memories and one of my only college party memories from the second time I went to college. 
I was a little worried the same thing would happen with this Sangria. After my ice maker gave out, this Sangria sat in the fridge for four days before we drank it. I think it helped that there were only two small blood oranges in the mix rather than pounds of fruit. I found the flavor of the finished product to be a wonderful sweet and tart mixture. The blood oranges I had were exceptionally red and almost tasted like berries, paired with Campari it was the perfect blend. I loved the color too. It initially wasn't this dark, but after sitting for days the mixture became a nice deep shade of red. This is the perfect spring drink and I hope to make it again once spring actually arrives.
Blood Orange and Campari Sangria
adapted from Sangria: Fun and Festive Recipes

2 blood oranges, sliced thin
2 ounces Campari
2 tablespoons sugar
750 ml bottle dry white wine, I used a dry riesling
12 ounces club soda
crushed ice cubes

In a large jar (at least 2 quart) or pitcher add blood orange slice, campari and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add white wine as refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, fill a glass with ice and add wine mixture until glass is about 2/3 full. Top off with club soda and stir to combine. Add an orange slice to garnish.


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