This is my first month participating in The Secret Recipe Club. Every month, Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’,sends all of the participants a top secret email with the name of a blog (food blog) and it’s our job to pick a recipe from that blog we want to recreate, any recipe. I loved the idea of this because it wasn’t telling me the exact recipe I had to make each month, it gives options. I’ve joined some other recipe clubs, and they are fun, but we all have to make the same thing, and sometimes I didn’t either have the time, money, or energy to make that particular item. So with this club, there is freedom, flexibility and choice.

I chose Eliot’s ‘Sittin’ on the Patio Sippin Sangria’ because well, I love sangria. And I liked his take on it: he never makes the same batch twice because it’s all about the fruit, fruit juice, and wine you have one hand. He combined some white and red wine, tons of fruit. So I took his idea of the white/red wine combo and then made my own adjustments from there, based on what I had on hand.

I very much enjoyed the combination of the red and white wine, which was my first time combining them in sangria. I decided cherries would be a fantastic rich and summery juice to use, instead of orange. Mainly I convinced myself cherry was good because that’s what I had, no orange juice was to be found in my house. But the addition of triple sec gave it a little citrus note.

I made this on a Friday night where we had friends over to celebrate a friend taking her boards to become a physical therapist. She’d taken them that day and didn’t know the results. So we decided, let’s get DRUNK. No, just kidding, that’s a bad idea. We decided to sit around, enjoy some food and drinks, and distract our friend from stressing over waiting for her results. Everyone, unsolicited, said it was the best sangria they’d ever had. I’m telling you, I think the cherry juice was the key. The cherry juice and the triple sec. I don’t think I’ve ever had cherries in sangria before, no, I’m sure I haven’t. And now, i can’t imagine it without it. I got my jar of cherries form Trader Joe’s. They aren’t maraschino, they are pitted and preserved cherries. So they don’t taste waxy and fake. You could just as easily buy cherry juice, and omit the actual cherry if you can’t find them in the jar.

I really enjoyed participating in The Secret Recipe Club. Can’t wait for next month’s ‘secret blog.’

Cherry Sangria
Eliot’s Sangria

1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon (about 3 1/4 c)
½ liter White Zinfandel (about 2 c)
3 oz. triple sec
Juice of one lemon
1 3/4 c. cherry juice
1 peach, sliced
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup pitted cherries (you can cut them in half, but I just threw them in whole)
Club soda, optional (I think a club soda adds a crisp taste to sangria. So, yes, it’s optional, but it’s a REAL good idea to add it)

Mix all (except the club soda) ingredients in pitcher. Chill for one hour (if you can wait that long). This lets the flavors of fruit flavor the alcohol, and the alcohol absorbs into the fruit, for a tasty little snack when you finish your glass. If using club soda, just top of the glasses with a bit of soda after the sangria is poured.You can serve it over ice, but it isn’t necessary.