“Have boozy juice box, will travel.” That’s my motto this week as spring break takes me to sunny Mexico. This inventive drink — a perfect hot-weather, tote-along pool companion — comes to us courtesy of the Hotel Arts Group, where I sampled it during Calgary’s Big Taste event at a cocktail dinner hosted by Raw Bar.
This adults-only take on a refreshing juice box features white wine, roasted pineapple and bitters. Chugalug!
Boozy Juice Box is basically a wine cooler made with roasted pineapple- and bitters-infused white wine. The pineapple complements the Pinot Grigio, adding a smoky sweetness, and the bitters give the drink a spicy complexity. At first sip I thought there was more to it than the recipe revealed. The good news is since it’s so simple, it would be a snap to make a large batch for a summer garden party… figuring out the delivery method (a bunch of juice boxes and straws) would be the hard part!
Boozy Juice Box
- 2 slices grilled pineapple
- 6 oz Noble Ridge Pinot Grigio
- 4 dashes Bittermans Boston Bitters
- Honey to taste
Combine ingredients and marinate overnight in the fridge. Strain into a plastic pouch, add a straw and tote along to the beach or enjoy poolside.
— Recipe courtesy Raw Bar at Hotel Arts
If you’re hosting a summer barbecue and want to serve a signature cocktail that pairs well with burgers but won’t get your friends stinking drunk, opt for sangria.
I learned my lesson after mixing up a truly lethal (however delicious) rum punch for a fundraiser last spring. I decided since I was hosting this party at my house (instead of the community hall) and I was parenting-while-entertaining, it served my interests (and those of my friends, neighbours and of course, the children) to scale back on the booze. The result: a delicious red wine sangria.
Does the dispenser look familiar? In a former life it served rum punch.
This sangria is refreshing and fruity, but not too sweet. The brandy adds oomph and the juices just the right combo of tart (cranberry and lemon) and sweet (pineapple). The great thing about sangria is you can play around with it to your liking and add fruit chunks that fit your fancy. If you’re brave you can even enjoy the fruit the following day as a sort of “hair of the dog” yukaflux fruit salad.
I am happy to report the sangria went over swimmingly. The only “sangricident” happened when a nine-year-old neighbour poured himself a nice big cup of the concoction (he thought it was punch). Thank goodness it wasn’t rum punch!
Sangria (to mix in an 11-litre dispenser or extra-large punch bowl)
- 4 bottles (750 mL x 4) red or white wine (always use a wine that you would drink on your own — we used a Peter Lehmann Layers blend, red, 2009)
- 1 bottle (750 mL) St. Remy VSOP brandy
- 16 oz fresh lemon juice
- 12 cups chopped fresh fruit, divided (see cook’s note)
- 64 oz fruit juice: cranberry and pineapple for red sangria; pineapple and grapefruit for white sangria
- Soda water topper
Set aside 2 cups of the chopped fresh fruit to add to cups as a garnish. Mix all remaining ingredients in the dispenser and top with soda water to add a light spritz. Pour over ice in a cup then dollop in some of the reserved chopped fruit.
Cook’s note: Use fruit that will absorb and impart flavours, such as apples, oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries and even cucumbers.
— Recipe adapted from a Vin Room Sangria recipe