While on tour we ate our weight at an excellent Spanish tapas joint in Durham, N.C. called Mateo. Truly amazing food and we washed it down with a couple of pitchers of Cheerwine Sangria, which is one of those ideas that’s so brilliant that it actually hurts me to not have thought of it. Of course, I respect them far too much to actually ask for the recipe, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to hack it from memory. I think this gets pretty darned close. Of course you can and should use fresh fruit as desired and as is available, but I wanted to start from a democratic baseline so I went with frozen fruit, which I always have on hand.
- 1 bottle of red wine (any Spanish blend will do but Rioja is especially appropriate)
- 4 ounces triple sec (or any orange liqueur)
- 2 ounces brandy
- 1 teaspoon cherry bitters
- 4 ounces frozen peaches (chopped)
- 4 ounces frozen mango (chopped)
- 8-10 basil leaves (roughly torn into large pieces)
- 1 orange (halved then quartered)
- 1 orange (halved and thinly sliced)
- 2 12 ounce bottles/cans Cheerwine, chilled*
- Stir the first 7 ingredients together in a large pitcher and chill at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- When ready to serve, skim the basil off the surface with a spoon or small strainer.
- Divide the fruit from the pitcher into 8 large wine glasses and top with 4 ounces of the wine mixture, followed by 3 ounces of Cheerwine.
- Finish by squeezing an orange quarter into each of the glasses (I usually let the drinkers do this) and garnish with an orange slice.
- Drink and repeat (responsibly of course, which means hide all the car keys).
* Cheerwine is a wild cherry-flavored cola out of Salisbury, N.C. It used to only be available in the South, but it’s slowly spreading due to the interest in heritage soda pops. If you can’t find it locally consider ordering online. Do not … I repeat, do not use cherry Coke.
Adapted from Inspired by Mateo’s in Durham, NC