Sun-tanned Winter Texans riding around on strange contraptions live next door. Surfers in wetsuits, too — their short boards propped against the gate. Pelican squadrons coast lazily overhead and palm trees sway in strong Gulf breezes from just beyond the prairie.

Instead of Corpus Christi metro, we elected this time to rent a small abode on North Padre Island. A cheery seafoam green cabana away from the hustle and bustle and noise and dirt of the mainland. It’s a whole other experience, and we couldn’t be happier with our decision.

The south Texas sun still burns bright and hot, which begs the question: Is it November here, too?

Because we craved reprieve, and because his friend was on the way for some of our eastern NC smoked pork butt, Dan thought a pitcher of sangria would do as an island barbecue drink.

I’ve always given mixed drinks — both wine- and liquor-based — a wide berth. They’re just not for me. Even writing a post about one is like stumbling through foreign, unfamiliar territory. So you can imagine my hesitation when he started mixing things.

Fortunately, he was making a sangria I previously enjoyed a taste of on the Dry Comal Creek Vineyards tour in New Braunfels. It must’ve been the combination of stifling heat and the cool drink’s condensation running down my wrist that day in Hill Country.

It was slushy and refreshing then, it was slushy and even more refreshing this weekend.

This may not be the most refined or traditional version of sangria, but it’s a solid recipe for success. So I say, if it’s cooling off by you, crank the heat, throw on some summer clothes and have a Spanish tapas party with friends. Make a double batch, because the sangria will disappear fast!

Dry Comal Creek Sangria [makes 14 cups sangria]

Printable recipe

Sangria combinations are only limited by your imagination — the possibilities are endless, and the recipes are merely suggestions. Class this version up with fresh-squeezed juices, and fat slices of grapefruit and lime alongside the oranges on the rim.

12 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate

12 oz can frozen limeade concentrate

1 bottle Dry Comal Creek Foot Pressed Red Table Wine (or other dry red wine)

2 L grapefruit soda, chilled (we used Fresca with great results)

1 orange, sliced

In a rather large pitcher, stir together first three ingredients and place in freezer until slushy.

When ready, add all 2 L grapefruit soda to pitcher. (Frozen mixture might need to be stirred up if too solid.) Alternatively, if you cannot find a large enough pitcher, fill glasses a little more than halfway with slushy mixture and then top each off with soda.

Garnish with orange slices and serve immediately.

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