Let others bring the burgers, you bring the sangria

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Want to be the hero of your July Fourth gathering? Leave the burgers and dogs to somebody else. Ditto for the potato and pasta salads. What you want to bring is the sangria. Because it's hard to go wrong at an outdoor summer party when you're the one toting the pitcher cocktail.

Still, I'm not a big believer in working hard for my cocktail. So this recipe is a breeze to assemble. Just dump and stir in the morning, then let it chill for a few hours before serving. Whatever you do, don't add ice until it's in the glass, and even then keep it to one or two cubes at most. Nobody wants a watered down cocktail.

For this recipe, I call for cava — the sparkling wine of Spain — but feel free to substitute the bubbles of your choice. Or if you'd rather cut the alcohol a little (can't imagine why, but whatever), ginger beer or a lemon-lime soda are fine substitutes.

Start to finish: 10 minutes active, plus 2 to 4 hours chilling

Servings: 10


1 cup brandy

1 cup peach juice

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1/2 cup simple syrup or agave syrup

750-milliliter bottle dry red wine (such as rioja)

6 ounces fresh raspberries

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2 oranges, thinly sliced

2 limes, thinly sliced

16-ounce bag frozen strawberries

3/4 cup orange juice

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1/4 cup sugar

750-milliliter bottle cava (or other sparkling wine)


In a large pitcher, stir together the brandy, peach juice and syrup until the syrup is dissolved. Add the wine and stir again. Stir in the raspberries, oranges and limes, then cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Meanwhile, in a blender combine the strawberries, orange juice and sugar. Puree until very smooth. Pour into 2 ice cube trays, then freeze for 2 to 4 hours, or until solid.

When ready to serve, slowly pour the cava into the pitcher. Stir once or twice gently just to mix. Pour into serving glasses, then add 1 to 2 frozen strawberry cubes to each glass.

J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch. Email him at jhirsch@ap.org


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