For most people summer is vacation time. One of my most fond travel memories was a while ago in the old city of Toledo, Spain. This medieval fortress town is located high on a bluff with walls completely surrounding the perimeter of the old city. We had to walk across a foot bridge to get into the city as there were no motor vehicles allowed. A beautifully picturesque city, Toledo sits almost like a wedding cake atop the highest point so all can see it from a distance with the Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary the highest point. What a trip! We went in spring when the weather in Spain is very much like the Midwest in the summer, hot, sometimes humid with a slight breeze.
We spent 10 days in the south of Spain from Madrid south to Toledo, on to Cordoba, Seville and Granada and back to Madrid. What an absolutely fabulous country and what interesting cultural habits. The afternoon siesta is something we should consider in the US and not just because you get a nap in the middle of the day. The shop owners close during the hottest portion of the day to go home, eat a light meal and take a much-needed rest. Once the heat of the sun is not so intense, they reopen their shops and continue business as usual long into the evenings. As Americans in a foreign culture, we did not often take advantage of the siesta for a nap but instead, sat in the shade in a plaza at sidewalk café tables with a large pitcher of sangria, visiting and watching the world go by. We tried many different types of sangria depending on our location but one that stood out was a non-alcoholic sangria tea that was served in Toledo at a tiny café right in the heart of the old city. We sat in a courtyard between centuries old stone buildings sipping sangria tea, just enjoying the time together and being refreshed by this amazing fruited drink. It was fabulous! Cool, brightly flavored and very thirst quenching, chilled to perfection. The fruit floating in the pitcher and garnishing our glasses was a feast for our eyes as well as our taste buds. This pleasant fruited tea cooled us, delighted our senses, and seemed to make the heat of the day more bearable.
Before summer over-heats us, try a large pitcher of sangria tea at your next summer event or maybe just for a special treat or a mid-week pick-me-up. You might just find it the most refreshing drink ever, and make it many more times.
Non-Alcoholic Sangria Tea
1 pint strawberries (optional)
2 quarts white grape juice, or white cranberry juice
Brew tea two to three times as strong as you normally prefer and chill. This can be done a day ahead and chilled overnight. Wash fruit and thinly slice one lemon, one lime and one orange. If using strawberries, remove green leaves and cut larger berries in half. Squeeze the juice of one lemon, one lime and one orange into a large glass pitcher*. Add tea and white grape or white cranberry juice. Adjust taste to match your preference. Reserve a few pieces of fruit to garnish glasses. Float remaining sliced fruits and strawberries in sangria tea. Pour over ice and fruit slices in tall clear glasses and enjoy!
Makes about 1 gallon, Refrigerate leftovers – if there are any.
* Believe it or not, I do not own a gallon size glass pitcher. So, I usually mix the tea and fruit juices in a gallon plastic jug, refrigerate it, then fill and garnish the glass pitcher just before serving. That way you can replenish this tasty sangria tea quickly if it’s as big a hit at your house as it is at mine.
* If you plan to serve a crowd, this sangria tea is lovely presented in a punch-bowl so your guests can serve themselves easily.
The next time you know someone will be stopping by during an unusually warm time, consider making a large pitcher of sangria tea. It could just be the beginning of deliciously fond memories for you too.
Remember, tea is not just a drink it is an event.