Cocktail Hour: Classic Spanish Sangria

A Feteful Life: Classic SangriaThere are few things that make me as happy as a cold pitcher of sangria just waiting to be served (especially on a warm spring or summer evening). Last year for my birthday Jim actually gave me a case of wine with a gift certificate for 12 batches of sangria anytime I wanted. It was a lovely and thoughtful gift which resulted in many an impromptu bbqs with our neighbors just because we had some sangria to celebrate with. So, now that the weather is finally starting to heat up I made my first batch of sangria of the season.

I’ve been fiddling around with perfecting my recipe over the last few years. This recipe isn’t very sweet but just sweet enough. While a lot of sangrias use brandy in addition to the wine, I have started using dark rum. It kinda happened by accident the first time because I didn’t have any brandy on hand, but I was so happy with how it turned out that I don’t think I’ll ever go back. It is also equally good with or without the addition of some sparkling water. Since you all know that I am addicted to sparkling water, I can’t help myself but it definitely isn’t necessary.

Classic Spanish Sangria (by A Feteful Life)

2 lemons
1 orange
1 1/2 cups dark rum (spiced rum would probably work as well)
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 (750ml) bottle of dry red wine
1 cup orange juice
1 liter sparkling water (optional)


Thinly slice the orange and lemons. In a large pitcher combine the rum, orange juice, wine and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the sliced fruit to the pitcher and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

When you are ready to serve crush the fruit lightly with a large spoon. You can either add the liter of sparking water to the entire pitcher or mix it into each glass individually. Cheers!


Cocktail Hour: Sparkling Bourbon Side Car

A Feteful Life: Sparkling Bourbon Side CarMy husband is a big fan of bourbon (and scotch) and while he normally drinks them straight or on the rocks, I’m always on the hunt for a good cocktail for him to mix things up. For his speakeasy birthday party this year we served a classic sidecar, which uses cognac as the main ingredient along with cointreau and lemon juice. It was delicious but I figured it might be even better substituting the bourbon for the cognac. I was right!

In addition to substituting the bourbon for the cognac, I also decide to serve it over some crushed ice and top it off with some sparkling water. So, essentially, it’s not a true sidecar anymore but the flavor profile is still there and it is delicious!

Sparkling Bourbon Sidecar (recipe by A Feteful Life)

2 ounces quality bourbon
1 ounce cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
club soda


In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the bourbon, cointreau and lemon juice. Shake to combine. Strain into a old fashioned glass filled with ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with a lemon or orange wedge.

Cocktail Hour: Estadio Inspired Orange-Thyme Gin & Tonic

A Feteful Life: Estadio's Inspired Orange-Thyme Gin & Tonic

There’s a restaurant in DC called Estadio that serves some really good Spanish Tapas but their drink menu is just out of this world. Last time we were there we ordered the orange-thyme gin & tonic based on the recommendation of a friend and it became one of my all-time favorite cocktails. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and was determined to figure out how to make a similar version at home. Lucky for me, it turns out the Washington Post loves it as much as me and has the recipe online. Score! The original recipe calls for a soda syphon and some quinine powder (neither of which I have) to make a homemade tonic but I adapted the recipe using tonic water instead.

A Feteful Life: Estadio Inspired Orange-Thyme Gin & Tonic

Orange-Thyme Gin & Tonic (recipe adapted from Estadio, as printed in The Washington Post)

Ingredients (serves 5)

1 Orange-Thyme Syrup recipe (see first step in directions below)
4 ounces fresh lime juice
7.5 ounces gin (Old Raj is recommended but I used what I had on hand)
High quality tonic water like Q Tonic (Schweppes and Canada Dry are too sweet)


Orange-Thyme Syrup – Combine 6 ounces sugar and 6 ounces water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add 5 thyme sprigs and orange zest from half of an orange; let sit for 1 hour, then strain into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Combine the orange-thyme syrup and lime juice.

Combine 2.5 ounces of the syrup & lime juice mixture with 1.5 ounces of gin in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Top off with tonic and garnish with an orange peel and some thyme leaves. Enjoy!