Celebrating the end of summer?…What? The autumnal equinox is September 23rd (3:09 UTC)… That’s still more than a fortnight away! Call me a pagan if you will, but as far as I’m concerned, September is a summer month. And this year September has twenty two days of summer -only eight days of fall. So hey now… You needn’t be a cock-eyed optimist to see that the glass is still way-more than half full. And yet for many, once Labor Day has come and gone —children packed up and loaded into bright yellow buses— summer is suddenly forgotten. People can be funny like that. Some seem to need rules and order. They waltz. They square dance. They polka through life. But, have you noticed? Nature has her own rhythm. And myself… I prefer it. At this time of year she always puts on a sultry bit of jazz… A spicy mambo… A lively cha-cha-chá. September is dancing to Cachao. Can you feel it? Now floating like the monarch, then buzzing like the bee; late summer swirls with color. These days are golden-orange, fire-red and rich wine. And the nights? September evenings are velvet maroon and deep violet, inky blue and blackberry brandy. Late summer is more a musical range of feelings than words. Listen to it. Pick up your feet. Toss off your shoes. Wiggle your toes in the grass. Don’t leave the party too early my friends… Let’s close the place down. Pour a dark-red glass of sangria; spin the ice with your finger and savor the sweet citrus as you sway to the music. Make the moment last…
Daylily ⓒ Tim Geiss
Hawkweed (Hieracium gracile) in the High Meadow
Sweet September Sangria
I’ve been serving this classic sangria at summer soirées for as long as I can remember. Everyone wants the recipe… So, here it is. Remember, the secret is in the simplest of ingredients, and the long, slow chill…
Ingredients (makes one large pitcher to serve 8):
5 large, washed valencia oranges. Three sliced and two juiced
3 large, washed lemons. Sliced.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Triple Sec (you can use more expensive orange liquor, but I think Triple Sec is just right)
2 bottles of chilled, inexpensive, fruity, Spanish table wine *
*Sangria is a traditional drink made with inexpensive Spanish table wine. Using more expensive wine defeats the purpose. Aim for a price tag under $5. You can substitute Merlot for Spanish table wine if necessary.
In a large pitcher, add most of the sliced fruit (reserve a few slices for serving; garnishing glasses and/or pitcher) and sugar. Mash with a wooden spoon (gently) for a minute, or until some juice is released. Try to retain the fruit shape (do not totally mash). Stir in the Triple Sec and the juice of the other oranges. Pour in the red wine and stir well.
For best flavor, refrigerate for 8 – 12 hours. Never, never serve sangria unless it has had time to mellow – it must sit and chill for at least 4 hours before serving… and longer is better.
When you are ready to serve, add a dozen or so ice cubes to the pitcher and stir well to mix pulp, juice and wine. Serve cold, pouring each drink into a glass garnished with fresh slices of citrus (either floating in the glass or on the rim).
Enjoy! xo Michaela
Golden Spider on Rudbeckia ⓒ Tim Geiss
Photographs of the Daylily and Golden Spider on Rudbeckia appear courtesy of Tim Geiss at Poltergeiss
Article and all other photographs are ⓒ 2010 Michaela at TGE
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