Patio Perfection

Ottawa was teased this week with some weather that had everyone thinking flip flops, designer shades, BBQing … and most obviously, patio drinks. While we were doused with yet another London-like bout of wet and chilly weather just in time for the weekend, thoughts of sugar-ed rims still danced in my head. Always the optimist, I will continue to believe (wish, pray, beg) that mother nature will smile down on my closet of neglected skirts and sleeveless tanks, (not to mention skin too pale to sport them) to shortly turn a gloomy spring into a scorching summer.

Jug of this, and it’ll feel like summer no matter what the weather!

Ottawa’s Byward market was “rammed” Monday – Thursday with people playing hookie from work and every other possible daily responsibility – drinks in hand, smiles on faces. Boys nestled their pitchers of beer almost as tenderly as a new momma would their babe … but it was sangria that was the word on every girl’s lips.

I truly believe a pitcher of sangria, your closest gal pals (conveniently for me, the contributors of inanutshell) and some juicy goss turns a regular after-work Wednesday into the primary reason why Summer is an unmatched season. Nothing says let’s find a sprinkler to streak through like a jug full of wine and fruity goodness.
My summer-lovin may be premature (Summer solstice is not until June 21, boo) but my taste-buds are getting prepared, even if my wardrobe (Kaylee Pare inspired, of course) is on stand-by.
While I’ve had many a delish batch of Sangria, over and over again my experiences prove that momma knows best. The best glass (or two, or three, or six…) I’ve had to date is hands down what my mom whipped up for my nineteenth birthday celebrations a few years ago. The following is her recipe and has a bit of a different take on the traditional. The twist is using white wine for a refreshing, fruity, less bold taste:

1 bottle White wine
1/4 cup Triple Sec (can substitute Grand Marnier)
1/4 cup Brandy
2 tablespoons sugar
1 bottle Sprite or 7-Up
Assorted small fruit, e.g. strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries etc. & slices of orange
My advice is to load up on the yummy berries and let the batch sit in the fridge for a bit before serving. Freezing the berries into a ring of ice by putting a bundt pan full of fruit and water in the freezer overnight is also a cool trick for a large punch bowl.

I promise that any sangria recipe is sure to jump start your summer groove … but this recipe is a guaranteed hit for all you little nuts out there.

Some more ideas..

Favourite Sangria Spot in the Capital

I consider  Mambo Nuevo Latino (77 Clarence St., Ottawa) to have the best sangria in the city and a roof-top patio to help you enjoy it. Mambo offers four different types, all by the glass – one white, one red and two made with champagne. The recipes include some interesting juices such as passionfruit and pink grapefruit. Yum.

Couple cute contributors sippin’ on some

Inspiration to wish for summer to come quickly so that more moments like this can be made… in a nutshell.