Labor Day

Labor Day is Janus-faced holiday.

Summer saunters away. No one will lament its passing this year, with endless 100-degree days, ranch-ravaging fires, reservoir-ravaging drought. Bring on autumn.

Still, even bad summers have upsides: kids home, grandkids visiting, family vacations, swimming pool parties—to escape oppressive heat, to be sure, but fun in their own right.

Enjoy three-day weekend. Celebrate surviving summer 2011. Look forward to cooler temps. Pray for rain.

Wine drink for laid-back, sayonara summer celebration? Tweak of well-received sangria punch recipe:

• Wine—red or white, doesn’t matter. Use a California merlot (Franzia box will do), Yellow Tail Shiraz, Ste. Genevieve Pinot Grigio or Merlot, value zinfandel, or other sweeter value wine. Figure two-four people per 750 ml bottle. Bigger party, multiply ingredients. Estimate consumption on high side; even non-wine drinkers will enjoy this is low-alcohol, fruity punch. It is inexpensive enough you will not lament if you must throw some away.

• 750 ml bottle of wine (see above)
• 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 red apple. Cut into thin wedges, do not squeeze to make juice
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 1 cup pulpy orange juice
• ½ cup lemonade
• 1 can (20 oz) of diced pineapples (include juice)
• 2-4 shots triple sec or Grand Marnier
• 4 cups chilled ginger ale
• 1 cup raspberries or strawberries (fresh, thawed, or frozen)

Pour wine in pitcher. Add lemon, orange, lime, apple slices, pineapple, sugar, orange juice, lemonade, triple sec/Grand Marnier. Chill overnight—really important. Best sangria marinates 24 hours or more.

Add chilled ginger ale and whole berries before serving. Ladle so people can eat fruit. Serve straight or over ice. Enforce designated driver rules: we want you around to officially bid summer adieu September 23.