When Life Hands You Crappy Wine, Make Sangria!

You’re at the wine store and the end of aisle promotional display looms before you. An eye-catching label, a close-out sale price, or an unfamiliar varietal, you find a few new bottles to try. Cocktail hour arrives and it’s time to open one of your much-anticipated acquisitions. Pouring, swirling, sniffing, and sipping culminates with sad disillusionment. The wine isn’t corked, oxidized, or spoiled in any way. It just isn’t great. Sometimes a well-intentioned wine proves to be disappointing. But don’t worry, sangria to the rescue!

Summertime social media is all abuzz about sangria; wines to use, recipes, fruit infusions, ice rings, and fancy serving glasses. The Boozy Lifestyle guide suggests that a good bottle of wine shouldn’t be sacrificed to the gods of sangria. The best wine for sangria is the one that wasn’t quite good enough to drink on its own. By the time you add all the ingredients in this recipe, you’ll hardly taste the wine at all.

Sangria Rum Cocktail

  • 8 oz. wine
  • 4 oz. Triple Sec
  • 2 oz. Bacardi Gold rum
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 2 oz. sweetened lemon juice
  • Splash of Myer’s rum

Stir together the first five ingredients. Pour into glasses over ice and float the Myer’s rum on top. Makes about 4 glasses.

More About Rum

We generally prefer rum over brandy in our sangria, and have found that Bacardi Gold is best for our recipe. We’ve tested it with different rums such as Pyrat, Appleton, 10 Cane, Shellback, Myer’s and Captain Morgan, but rums with too much personality of their own don’t perform as well as the Bacardi Gold at harmonizing with the other ingredients. As part of the “which rum for our sangria?” drink lab, we discovered that a Myer’s floater adds a nutty aroma with flavors of toffee and caramel without exposing its medicinal aspect. You see, Myer’s is good for something other than rum cake.


More About Lemon Mixer

Back in the day, we used bottled mixers such as Rose’s and Mr. & Mrs. T’s Sweet and Sour, but the inclusion of high fructose corn syrup became a turn off for reasons of health and taste. Since we like to have a pre-made mixer ready to go, we buy unsweetened lime or lemon juice such as Real Lemon and mix it with simple syrup in a 50/50 ratio. We make a quart at a time and store it in the refrigerator.


Wine & Warren & The Wind

As I sip my sangria and listen to Warren Zevon’s final album, The Wind, I begin to see the analogous meaning of making lemonade out of lemons as it applied to Zevon. His was the ultimate tragic lemon; a diagnosis of a cancer called pleural mesothelioma and a prognosis of untimely death. His lemonade is an insightful collection of songs expressing his ironic humor, love, anger and frustration over dying, and the desire to be remembered after death.


As a collaboration of close friends, The Wind comes full circle in bringing together many of the artists who contributed to his self-titled major-label debut album, Warren Zevon. Before asking Alexa, we found ourselves playing ‘Guess the Guest’ performance. The recognizable voices include Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, and Emmylou Harris. Signature instrumentalists such as David Lindley on lap steel and Ry Cooder on guitar are easy to identify. Harder to name are Don Henley and Mick Fleetwood on drums.

In “Disorder In The House”, performed with Bruce Springsteen, Zevon is both amused and disgusted with his own apathy over a sad state of affairs and “Even the Lhasa Apso seems ashamed.” I can relate.

“It’s the home of the brave and the land of the free

Where the less you know the better off you’ll be”

Knowing that Zevon’s days were numbered is all the more reason to shed a tear when listening to “Keep Me In Your Heart.” The feel of the song is especially intimate, as if we’re listening in on Zevon’s final words to his lover. Concurrently, and in a larger sense, he’s expressing our universal desire to live on through the memories of loved ones and to live a life that mattered.

If your Boozy Lifestyle guide gets a bit philosophical, it must be the sangria talking. But honestly, thank you to the nightly news and those who star in it for forcing me to tune out and rediscover my enjoyment of music.

Published by J Reilly

Boozy Lifestyle: Elevate The Everyday With Booze As Your Muse by Julia Stacey Reilly is available on Amazon.com. Follow J Reilly @boozy_lifestyle on Twitter and Instagram.

2 thoughts on “When Life Hands You Crappy Wine, Make Sangria!

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