Summery Cinnamon Sangria {gluten-free, vegan}

I took about a month off for travel/work crazy, but I’m baaaaaack. Hello!

Not gonna lie, recipe developing has been A Very Large Challenge of late. I live in a beautiful duplex in Austin, Texas, in a neighborhood I’ve always wanted to live in, but our apartment, despite its many cuteness-es, has Some Faults. We don’t have a dishwasher — kinda awful when you decide to bake four things in one day. Instead of central air we have FREAKING WINDOW UNITS — a crime in Texas. Never before have I experienced such distaste for my oven and stovetop. My kitchen could technically double as a sauna. I’m trying to keep up with making meals at home, but when it’s hot as balls, what can you do?

When I do cook, I throw in spices without measuring at all so I can get in and get out. Really all I want to eat right now are random combinations of grains and vegetables and chili peppers that aren’t so much recipes as they are desperate attempts to satisfy cravings and maintain some semblance of healthfulness. So guess what? Y’all are going to be inundated with cocktail recipes for the next few weeks! Because what can you do when it’s so hot out that when you take a run at 6:30 am, you sweat for an hour afterwards, and then you read an article about our current president and all you want to do is go back to bed? You head to you day job and zone out from residual heat exhaustion for eight hours, then sweatily fight your way through traffic to your house, take off your bra, and draaaaaaaaank.

This sangria will greatly improve your quality of summer-life. Sangria should be a deliciously cooling, slightly spicy, pleasantly fruity thing, but all too often, it tastes like a toothache. Not so with this recipe. My favorite sangrias in Austin can be found at Opa and at Butterfly Bar, so if your kitchen is too hot to even attempt your own sangria, stop reading now and go to one of those locations instead. If your kitchen is tolerable, read on.

This is the recipe for the sangria I made on Sunday. I make that Sunday specification because, while I absolutely want you to follow my recipe, sangria is its most fun when you allow it to be a flexible creature. Experiment with the fruit you have on hand, and see what new flavors you create! The constants I recommend are cinnamon and citrus. I’ve you’ve got those two elements, you’re golden.

SUMMERY CINNAMON SANGRIA

Makes enough to serve a crowd of eight people watching Game of Thrones

  • 3-5 cinnamon sticks to taste (6-inch long cinnamon sticks, as opposed to smaller 2-3 inch half-sticks)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large orange, thinly sliced
  • 2 plums, sliced into half-inch inch-thick wedges
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Cointreau or other orange liqeur
  • 3 bottles of red wine — my favorites for sangria are (in order of preference) temperanillo, zinfandel, shiraz, and cabernet sauvignon
  • Topo chico or other sparkling water
  • Ice

Combine cinnamon, fruit, and wine in a large pitcher or beverage dispenser. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least one to two hours to allow flavors to develop. Stir before pouring. Serve over ice and top with splash of sparkling water.

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