Labor Day

Labor Day: bittersweet homage to transition, end-of-summer obeisance to the passage of time, and recognition that to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.

The boys of summer celebrate dreams fulfilled or mourn opportunities lost. Football hopes spring eternal in the fall. We enjoy final shorts and flip-flop flings on patios, decks, porches, and poolsides and acknowledge we are in the afternoon of yet another of our allotted annual treks around the sun.

Wine, of course, can be part of this panoply of passage, and what better drink than sangria, a wine punch almost all wine lovers love. It can be made in big batches and, because of diluted alcohol, sipped all day and into the evening.

Big production sangria

• Bottle of red wine—(you can use white; red is traditional; sangre is Spanish for “blood”).

• 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 apple. Cut into thin wedges, do not juice, do not peel.

• 1 cup orange juice

• ½ cup lemonade

• 2 tbsp sugar

• 2-3 shots triple sec, Grand Marnier, or brandy

• 20 oz can diced pineapples (include juice)

• 1 cup raspberries or strawberries (fresh, thawed, or frozen, doesn’t matter)

• 4 cups chilled ginger ale

Pour wine in pitcher. Add fruits, sugar, orange juice, lemonade, triple sec/Grand Marnier/brandy. Chill overnight—important, quality sangria marinates 24 hours.

Add ginger ale and whole berries before serving straight or on ice. Ladle so people can enjoy fruit.

Last minute sangria

• Bottle of rosé

• 1 cup orange juice

• 2 sliced peaches or nectarines (peeled)

• 2 sliced oranges (peeled)

• half cantaloupe, cut into chunks

Combine in pitcher filled with ice. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Last second bubbly sangria

• Bottle of sparkling wine

• 2 sliced peaches or nectarines (peeled)

• half cantaloupe, cut into chunks

• half-cup of honey

Combine in pitcher, stir to dissolve honey. Add ice.

Tasting notes:

• You do not need quality wine to make sangria, but better wine makes better sangria. Consider granacha. Never use wine labeled “sangria”—it is low-end, artificial plonk.

• Barefoot (a Gallo label) makes a host of lower-dollar wines. Extra Dry & Brut Cuvée bubbly will work for last-second bubbly sangria, but almost any Barefoot bottle will do and is cheap and available almost everywhere.

Last round: The only thing better than a glass of sangria on Labor Day is two glasses of sangria on Labor Day.