Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Sangria is the best antidote for a hot summer afternoon.  My recipe has never let me down and is always a great success when I prepare for my guests. Easy, refreshing, not overly sweet and mild alcohol content.  This drink can be served in a pitcher, punchbowl or a classic beverage dispenser with spigot.  I usually make it in large quantities because in Puerto Rico, Sangria is a very popular drink and people would drink Sangria over beer or hard liquor anytime.  Here, most informal family restaurants offer Sangria as part of their menu. The important thing is to make it fresh! If you choose to make it ahead of time, prepare the mixture and leave out the lemon soda and ice until the moment you are going to serve.  For best results choose a young, fruity, unoaked, inexpensive wine. Most of the time, I buy and inexpensive wine from the Rioja region in Spain made from Tempranillo grapes, but you may use a French boujolais, Italian dolcetto or lambrusco.  My suggestion is that you serve over ice instead of adding the ice to the mixture so that it doesn’t become diluted.

This wine punch typical of Spain has been popularized in many countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.  A similar version known as Sangaree can be found in the West Indies.  There is also a simpler variant of Sangria called “Tinto de verano” ( red wine of summer or wine spritzer) which is part wine, part “gaseosoa” (a mixture of carbonated water and lemon juice) garnished with lemon slice.  I like to make this version when I am on the boat because it is so simple to make and you know that boat kitchens have limited space.  There are hundreds of recipes depending on the regions, the ingredients at hand and the preferences and creativity of the person preparing the Sangria.  However, what makes a Sangria a Sangria is that it has all of the following:  young fruity red wine, chopped or sliced fruit, fruit juice,  sweetener and a small amount of liqueur like brandy or Cointreau.  In addition, most Sangria recipes add carbonated lemon soda.  Here is my version of Sangria!




1 bottle of young, dry, inexpensive red wine (750 ml)

1 1/2 cups of orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

4 tbsp Cointreau, Grand Manier, Brandy or Rum

1 can of Lemon Sierra Mist, Sprite or 7-up, 11.27 ounces (If you don’t have any of these make a mixture of “gaseosa”, made with sparking water and fresh lemon juice)

1/2 red apple (diced and diced)

1/2 orange (thinly sliced and halved)

1/2 half a yellow lemon (thinly sliced and halved)



1.  With a large spoon, mix all ingredients in a large pitcher, punchbowl or beverage dispenser with spigot a few hours before serving to allow flavors to settle.  If you are going to make it ahead of time, leave out lemon soda and add just before your serving.  Serve Sangria over ice.

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This recipe is from Jeannie, the mother of Maryse one of my best friends from childhood.  While we were growing up (approximately 11-16 years old in the late 1980’s), Jeannie and Jose would invite a group of 5 or 6 of their daughter’s girlfriends to spend the weekend on their boat the week of her birthday, usually the third week of april.  Jeannie would always come prepared with a few gallons of her homemade fruit punch, “sandwichitos de mezcla” and she would make eggs on a nest (“huevo al nido”) for breakfast.  For several years we visited different beaches and bays in Culebra and Vieques, beautiful islands off Puerto Rico. We had so much fun learning to kneeboard, snorkel and just being close to nature.  No DVD players, nintendos or cable tv, just girlfriends engaging in conversation, making jokes and playing cards and board games. I remember one morning I woke up to find that the girls played a joke on me by replacing one of the boat’s flags with one of my bras!  I was 13 and was so embarrassed!

Culebrita Island March 2008. 35th birthday trip.

Two years ago, I called Maryse (who lives in New York City) to plan a weekend boat trip to Vieques and Culebra to celebrate our 35th birthday.  After we got in touch with all the girls and the trip was a go, Jeannie called me to see if there was anything she could do to help in planning the trip since her daughter was arriving the night before and would not be able to pitch in with the food like the other girlfriends that were living on the island.  I didn’t ask for lasagna or  chicken pot pie, the only thing that came to my mind was her fruit punch.  So the night Maryse and Jorg arrived, which was at around midnight, she came to the marina with a bag of fruit and a gallon or two of her fruit punch specialty.  The taste tranported me to great childhood memories! In addition, I realized once again how lucky I am to have true lifelong friends.  Happy Birthday Maryse!

Jeannie’s Fruit Punch


makes a gallon

1 frozen can concentrated orange juice (12 0z) plus 3 cans of water

1 large can of pineapple juice (46 oz.)

1/4 cup of grenadine syrup


1.  Prepare frozen orange juice concentrate according to package instructions (usually adding 3 additional water measurements)

2.  Add rest of ingredients and stir briskly.  Makes one gallon.  Refrigerate.  You may add maraschino cherries when serving.

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I had planned to post this recipe during next month, but I am making an early posting of my champagne punch bowl recipe at the request of my good friend Yuri.

This champagne punch bowl is one of my trademarks.  My friend Narah named it “bul de la verdad” or “the drink of truth”  because every time I make it and guests start to drink it, by the end of the gathering everyone will be  telling “the truth” (without inhibitions). Ja! It is very refreshing and easy to make.  Your guests will be asking for this recipe too!

Please remember this is not juice, it has alcohol so pace yourself no matter how good and sweet it is!  Tip:  Drink plenty of water and eat before, during and after drinking.

If you want you can add frozen strawberries (about 2 cups) to this punch bowl mix. Its optional.

Bul de la Verdad (Champagne Punch Bowl)


3 cups of cranberry juice

3 cups of orange juice

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 bottle of white wine (inexpensive)

4 bottles of cold champagne, sparkling wine or cava (inexpensive)

2 cups frozen strawberries (optional)


1.  In a large pot heat cranberry and orange juice with sugar just until the sugar dissolves stirring occasionally . Remove from heat and add bottle of white wine (and strawberries optional).  Mix well. Freeze mixture pouring into two separate containers overnight. I freeze it in 2 tupperware covered jello molds or into two bundt cake pans.

2.  When ready to serve, place frozen mixture in a punch bowl and add 2 champagne bottles for each mold. Stir and serve.


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I though I was not going to be able to make a post today since I was supposed to be flying all day, but since weather conditions have delayed all our flights here goes a little extra recipe for this week.

Coquito is Puerto Rico’s egg nog.  However, in my recipe, I don’t use eggs. It is a typical drink for the holiday season. Emilio and I have been making this recipe for many years.  It is a nice aperitif or after-dinner drink. Also, it is a nice present to bring with you to a Christmas dinner or a Holiday party. People love home-made Coquito! It is best served on the rocks and in small amounts because it is very sweet.



2/3 cup white rum (Don Q Cristal is our favorite)

1 can of condensed  milk (sweetened)

7 ounces coconut milk

12 ounces evaporated milk

1/2 tbsp ground cinamon

1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes (I buy dried coconut, open it, and grate the white part. Freeze the rest for another recipe.)

1/2 tsp  pure vanilla extract


Put all ingredients in a blender and mix well by pulsing. Do not blend in a continuous speed because too much air will get in the mixture and will overflow.  Wait until machine blade has stopped and remove lid.  Pour into glass bottles with a funnel and refrigerate.

Note:  This Coquito recipe has a  moderate alcohol quantity. If you wish a stronger rum taste, substitute with 3/4 of a cup of white rum.


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