Cheers: Quench that thirst

BOOKMARK

July 02, 2008|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,Sun Reporter

101 Sangrias and Drinks

By Kim Haassarud

Wiley / 2008 / $16.95

Sangria - punch made with inexpensive wine mixed with liquor and fruit such as mangoes, peaches, pineapple or raspberries - invites the kind of improvisation provided by Kim Haassarud, who heads a consulting firm that creates signature beverages. The book offers many sangria options, with regional variations and flavors.

Although sangrias should be made at least 24 hours in advance so the flavors can blend, Haasarud offers some shortcuts - mashing the fruit slightly or sauteing it in simple syrup over low heat to soften its skin. She also suggests garnishes such as mojito cubes, made by freezing 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 1/2 cup simple syrup in an ice-cube tray with at least two mint leaves per cube.

Rather than just pitcher drinks that could be mass-produced for a party, the book included lots of cocktails to be mixed individually. However, the sangria recipe that kicks off the book was pretty high octane, featuring both cognac and Cointreau. When tempered with 7-Up, it was a refreshing drink for a very hot day.

Mom's Sangria

SIMPLE SYRUP:

1 cup sugar

1 cup hot water

SANGRIA:

2 bottles of Spanish red wine (Rioja)

12 ounces Hennessy VS cognac

12 ounces Cointreau

12 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

2 broken cinnamon sticks

3 to 4 lemons cut into thin wedges

3 to 4 small oranges cut into thin wedges

12 strawberries, sliced

7-Up, as needed

In a bowl, glass or empty, clean wine bottle, combine sugar with the hot water and stir or shake bottle until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool completely before using. It can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks.

Place wine, cognac, Cointreau, orange juice, simple syrup and cinnamon sticks in a large ceramic or glass container and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, pour into an ice-filled pitcher to 2/3 full. Add the lemons, oranges and strawberries, top with 7-Up, and stir gently to mix.

Tip: This tastes even better if you let it sit for 48 hours before adding the 7-Up and serving.

From "101 Sangrias and Drinks"

Per serving: 259 calories, 0 grams protein, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 6 milligrams sodium

Smoothies

Over 100 Fabulous Blended Drinks From Breakfast Boosters to Indulgent Treats

By Louise Pickford

Ryland Peters & Small / 2008 / $14.95

Warm summer weather and an abundance of fresh fruit will make you reach for this book. Louise Pickford has filled it with inspirational combinations that range from filling breakfast drinks that will stave off hunger until lunchtime to milkshakes best suited for dessert.

She emphasizes the potential health benefits of her recipes, includes a glossary of terms and offers options for dietary preferences: nondairy smoothies made with coconut, soy or rice milk; low-fat smoothies.

Pickford also reminds readers to feel free to experiment with recipes. I wish I had added some sweetener to her Caribbean Cruise recipe, which was surprisingly bland even though both the pineapple and papaya were sweet and delicious independent of the drink.

Slurp

Drinks and Light Fare,

All Day, All Night

By Nina Dreyer Hensley, Jim Hensley and Paul Lowe

Andrews McMeel Publishing / 2008 / $16.99

Slurp celebrates celebrations at any time of the day, with great ideas to make "drink accessories" such as ice cubes with herbs or berries or citrus zest. The authors recommend infusing simple syrup with spices such as lemon grass, chili pepper or vanilla bean to add sweetness and flavor to drinks, and carving edible shot glasses out of cucumbers.

The images of food and drink are lovely and feature recipes for old favorites such as iced tea and mai thai, as well as unusual smoothies. I was surprised how tart a melon, honey and lime smoothie was. Switching the proportions - more melon, less yogurt - eased its bite.

liz.kay@baltsun.com

Find recipes for Caribbean Cruise and Melon, Honey and Lime Smoothie at baltimoresun.com/taste

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