Sangria Recipe and Support … How Sweet They Both Are!

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Real Food Weekly. 

With May being the month when Cinqo de Mayo is celebrated and also Celiac Awareness Month, I think that offering a sangria recipe and postulating (again) on the need for support when one is gluten free just makes sense. I actually combined the two last night, making my friend Tavie’s sangria recipe for my support group’s belated Cinqo de Mayo celebration. Yes, Cinqo de Mayo was on May 5 as the name indicates, but my group meets later in the month and we really wanted to focus on Mexican food with homemade tortillas and carnitas with all the fillings/toppings, plus much more. And yes, sangria is really a drink from Spain or Portugal, not Mexico. I know that. Sigh. But to repeat the words of a celebrity therapist do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? I choose happy. Of course, I could have gone for a classic margarita or a more nouveau version like this Avo-Rita that was just shared over at Endless Simmer.  But I had that pitcher of sangria in mind—an easy way to serve and please a crowd. 

So I put the call out on Twitter late the other night for sangria recipes. Liz (Hoosier Homemade) reminded me of her White Sangria recipe that she’d shared for our Holiday FoodFest event a while back. (Note that not all recipes shared in that event were gluten free, but the ones in Liz’s post were.) Liz’s white sangria looks lovely, definitely something different. However, when I was chatting with my friend, Tavie, about the menu for my group’s meeting, I suddenly remembered how good her sangria is. I’ve enjoyed it many times! Lucky for me it’s a well-loved recipe with few ingredients … she was able to recite it from memory. It turned out that I had everything on hand except the burgundy. So I picked up a bottle on the way home. I must say that I was delighted to see that a large bottle of burgundy was only $7.  Sangria that’s easy, delicious, and frugal … definitely my kind of recipe! And actually it was everyone else’s, too. Even the teetotalers in my support group were drinking this last night. Sadly, in the flurry of activity with members making tortillas, chopping veggies, heating up their offerings, and more, I completely forgot to snap a photo. Well, until 10:30 last night. Luckily, there was a small amount left in the pitcher and in my glass, although I’d added some ice (no doubt another beverage faux pas) and mine was a bit watered down. Still I needed to head to bed, so I just snapped quick photos “as is,” on my then empty dining room table. Sorry for the harshly-lit, late-night photos with almost no sangria left in the pitcher, but I still think you’ll get the idea just fine.  

As far as the second part of this S & S equation, I’m always talking about the importance of support groups. That’s not just because I lead one, but in my role as a support group leader, I see how the “support” buoys folks when they have yet to get their gluten-free “sea legs,” so to speak. (By the way, my dear friend, Tia, just talked about the need for support in her 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living post.) We had three new members attend last night and I’m not exaggerating when I say they were thrilled they had joined us. They saw and ate all our wonderful real food and recipes made from real food, with a few gluten-free specialty products shared, too, and they immediately “got” the gfe approach. It’s one thing to tell folks how to live gfe; it’s quite another to show them, to let them see others follow the gfe approach, and to actually taste great naturally gluten-free food! They truly understood how they could go forward living gluten free easily and well. While we were eating, several of us chatted with new members on eating out—good experiences, bad experiences, the “do’s” and the “don’ts.” While some people do take part in my meetings initially, some do stop attending on a regular basis once they feel they’ve grasped the gfe approach and feel they can do it on their own; others continue to participate in as many meetings as their schedules allow. Interestingly enough, our presentation part of our meeting last night was watching Dr. Tom O’Bryan (D.C., C.C.N.) via the video of the 2010 Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Forum. In his presentation, Dr. O’Bryan strongly encourages his audience members to take part in support group meetings because it gives folks that much needed sense of community and it keeps them up on all the happenings in the gluten-free world. I was somewhat surprised that Dr. O’Bryan’s presentation included that point, but pleased, too, because it’s a valid one. And the truth is that even when my support group members are no longer attending meetings, there are very few folks who choose to stop receiving our support group newsletter. So they still like that “lifeline” of support and access to news in the gluten-free world. And who doesn’t need a gluten-free friend or two or several dozen? I sure treasure mine.

Regarding Dr. O’Bryan’s presentation as a whole, what he had to say was pretty riveting for all of us watching, but I want to do some follow-up research before I comment further. (FYI:  My wonderful friend, Heidi (Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom) talked briefly about Dr. O’Bryan’s presentation here.) I definitely urge you to buy the video from the 2010 Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Forum, the annual event hosted by Drs. Vikki and Rick Petersen. Many of my members were planning to immediately purchasing a copy, to watch on their own and to show to family members. The other 2010 speakers were Dr. Vikki Petersen herself (D.C., C.C.N., Co-Author of the book “The Gluten Effect”), Cynthia Kupper (R.D. and Director of the Gluten Intolerance Group), and Dr. Rodney Ford (M.D., F.R.A.C.P., Professor of Pediatrics, and who I simply idolize for his passion and work).  

Now the sangria … this recipe might be your new “go-to” drink for summer events. While summer doesn’t begin until June 21, Memorial Day weekend is always considered its kickoff so with that in mind, you don’t have to wait long. If you’re a stickler for that correct timing thing, again ask yourself is it important to be right or to be happy? You know which I choose.  And this sangria is truly wonderful any time of the year … no need to look at the calendar!

Tavie’s Sangria (with Something Special)
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.) 

4 cups burgundy wine

2 cups orange juice

½ cup triple sec liqueur

¼ cup sugar (I used palm sugar; I think honey or agave nectar would work fine, too)

Sliced or cut fruit of your choice (I used orange and lime slices) 

Stir all together in large pitcher and chill until serving. Sangria may be served over ice if needed.  

Now my friend Tavie likes to add a little special flourish to her Sangria, so she also mixes up the following and just spoons some into the individual glasses of Sangria. This development is relatively new in her sangria serving, so I haven’t tried it yet, but will tonight!  

Something Special 

About 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fruit that you would enjoy eating, chopped or individual (e.g., chopped apple, chopped pears, individual grapes, chopped plums, chopped nectarines)

½ cup of peach schnapps

¼ cup of triple sec liqueur 

Add fruit to medium-sized bowl. Mix peach schnapps and triple sec together and pour over fruit. Let sit a few minutes. Chill if preparing well ahead of serving.

When serving sangria, spoon some of this Something Special into individual glasses, if desired. 

Recipe courtesy of my long-time, good friend, Tavie Glassmire

Not just gf, but gfe!

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33 Responses to “Sangria Recipe and Support … How Sweet They Both Are!”

  1. Kay Guest on May 25th, 2011 4:12 pm


    • Shirley on May 26th, 2011 10:43 pm

      I lift my glass to you as well, Kay! :-)


  2. Tia @ Glugle Gluten Free on May 25th, 2011 7:29 pm

    Mmmm. Sangria. Good thing you didn’t use my recipe. One glass and it is really hard to move. At all. Made it once when we had a bbq on the roof of our 3 story condo in L.A. Ooooooooo, was that a mistake.

    Oh yeah. And support. Good. ;)

    (Thanks for the link-love, dear.)

    • Shirley on May 26th, 2011 10:46 pm

      Tia–Now that’s SOME sangria! Hubby once lived in a three-story stone house with a flat roof. We would go up there to watch the city fireworks over the nearby river on the 4th. As you can imagine, the resulting situation was very similar. ;-)

      Support is key as you stated! Always happy to share your posts, dear; they’re terrific. :-)


  3. Ricki on May 25th, 2011 8:53 pm

    I just love sangria! This one sounds particularly good, too. I always used to find that it felt like drinking fruit juice. . . with a kick, of course. ;) Your support group is so lucky to have you! So nice to hear that it went well for the newbies. :)

    • Shirley on May 26th, 2011 10:50 pm

      Hi Ricki–Yes, a kick … just the right kind and not too much juice flavor. Juice is often too sweet for my taste. Sangria is the perfect balance of not sweet burgundy and sweet fruit juice and sweet fruit. :-)

      Thanks for the sweet ;-) word on my support group. It’s a mutual “lucky to have you” relationship. The newbies were thrown right in. One was acting as my sous chef and another was pressing corn tortillas. The food probably tasted even better to them because they helped make it. ;-)


  4. Zoe on May 25th, 2011 10:00 pm

    Ok, I don’t drink but this looks really good! I knew it had to be good just by the sound of the name. :) What would you sub for the burgundy and liquer to make it non-alcoholic, without it becoming just orange juice? ;)

    • Shirley on May 26th, 2011 11:01 pm

      Zoe–Ahhh, good question on a non-alcoholic version! I’m sure you could use POM pomegranate juice or perhaps cranberry juice for the burgundy and an orange-flavored beverage for the triple sec. If you give it a try, please let us know. :-)


  5. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on May 26th, 2011 1:25 am

    Okay. Are you reading my mind? I literally said to Kurt that I wanted to have just have some friends over to BBQ, play in the pool, and drink Sangria. In one of the latest Food Network magazines, they had recipes for red and white sangria. This one here looks amazing and I think will be the recipe I use this weekend! Although, Tia has me intrigued with her one-glass-and- your-toasted version!

    • Shirley on May 27th, 2011 9:25 am

      Kim–I like it when I read your mind! LOL Actually I think that’s just dear friends being on the same wavelength, which always gives me “warm fuzzies.” ;-) Sangria is always good, but I do REALLY like this one. If you give it a try, please let us know! :-) Haha on Tia’s version … her kind might even be more frugal … only one drink required per person and since one can’t move after drinking it, that would really save on how much food you have to prepare, too. (Not much grazing going on in that case, especially with the pool as a semi-obstacle. Hehe.


  6. Ina Gawne on May 26th, 2011 10:05 am

    This looks so good. I have never had sangria before, I must try!

    • Shirley on May 27th, 2011 9:25 am

      Ina, you really must try this sangria! It will be the best introduction to sangria for you! :-)


  7. Tom @ Tall Clover Farm on May 26th, 2011 10:14 am

    This recipe confirms it….summer’s just around the corner!

    • Shirley on May 27th, 2011 9:26 am

      Tom–This sangria could be a nice refreshing beverage when taking a break from all that cleaning you have in mind before summer really hits. ;-)


  8. Peter Bronski on May 26th, 2011 3:52 pm

    Hi Shirley… No I’m going to have to go and make a pitcher of sangria! =)

    Cheers, Pete

    • Shirley on May 27th, 2011 9:28 am

      Pete–I bet you and Kelli would enjoy it! :-) A pitcher of this sangria can help those normal life problems that we all have seem like not such a big deal after all. ;-)


  9. glutenfreeforgood on May 26th, 2011 4:49 pm

    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never had Sangria. The only alcohol I drink is red wine, so I’m thinking it would be a very easy transition from a glass of Pinot Noir to a pitcher of Sangria! =) And the orange and lime slices sound the best to me. I love citrus and with summer (hopefully) around the corner, I think I better learn to make this refreshing looking drink.

    As for support and help from friends, it’s the key to life no matter what you’re going through!

    I bought the video a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t watched it yet. I’m looking forward to it. Maybe I’ll make some Sangria and watch it tonight. Sounds good to me, especially now that I have a recipe!


    • Shirley on May 27th, 2011 9:34 am

      Melissa–Clearly this is the perfect alcoholic concoction for you as your logic shows! :-) Don’t you love it when logic works for you like that? ;-)

      You’re absolutely right on support and I forgot to mention that the folks in your support group do become some of your best friends and see you through much in life, not just the gluten-free aspects.

      I’m going to finish watching the video this weekend. We’ll watch the rest in our support group, but here and there. We don’t have an educational portion of the meeting each time, because often folks just need to share and ask questions. Anyway, I’ll be interested in your “takeaway” from all the sessions!

      Have a great weekend! xoxo,

  10. Wendy @ Celiacs in the House on May 26th, 2011 5:06 pm

    Okay, you talked me into it. Sangria and launching a local support group. xoxo

    • Shirley on May 27th, 2011 9:37 am

      Wendy–LOL and hooray! You will be a fantastic support group leader! Let me know when it happens. I am volunteering to Skype in to a meeting and share my gfe approach, if you’re interested! :-) But not in conjunction with drinking sangria. ;-)


      • Wendy @ Celiacs in the House on May 27th, 2011 10:14 am

        Now that is a great idea. Have you done the Skype thing before with a group?

        • Shirley on May 27th, 2011 10:52 am

          Wendy–I frequently Skype others in for our group meetings (e.g., Ron Hoggan, Kelly at The Spunky Coconut). I have not been the speaker for other meetings via Skype yet, but I have used Skype to do recorded interviews, like the one I did with Steph over at her Gluten-Free TV. :-) So I don’t see it as a problem. You will need the type of projector that one uses for PowerPoint presentations, etc. or a connection from computer to a large television. It’s not hard at all. Skype opens the world up for group speakers! I will have Dr. Stephen Wangen speaking to my group from Seattle soon. :-)


          • Wendy @ Celiacs in the House on May 27th, 2011 11:10 am

            Okay, Shirley, you’ve got it all goin’ on. I am impressed at your sophisticated use of technology. I hope your group knows what a resource they have in their midst who is far more than a creative bartender and hostess.

          • Shirley on May 28th, 2011 10:03 am

            Oh, Wendy, you’re so sweet—thank you! The keys to my use of technology are having a computer with webcam (a given these days) and the fancy, but pretty easy-to-use projector. I borrow the latter from work any time I need it. If I’ve forgotten how to use the cables from the previous use, a member always steps in to help. ;-)


  11. Debi on May 26th, 2011 10:20 pm

    And here I am with no burgundy in the house! Travesty! *adds it to grocery list*

    Wendy, if you are starting a local support group, I’m driving up! :D

    • Shirley on May 27th, 2011 9:39 am

      Debi–Burgundy is not something I normally keep on hand, but I think I need to change that. I always have orange juice, fruit, and triple sec, so I could easily stir up a batch of sangria if friends dropped in. I’m always impressed when others do that type of thing! LOL

      Love that you and Wendy are close enough that you can attend her support group meetings (notice that I’m saying it like it will definitely happen and soon … are you reading, Wendy?)!


    • Wendy @ Celiacs in the House on May 27th, 2011 10:15 am

      Hey, Debi, if I get this thing going, I’m going to invite you up for moral support. :)

  12. Nikki on May 27th, 2011 10:51 am

    YUM! I LOVE Sangria, gotta give this one a try :o)

  13. Jennifer R. on May 27th, 2011 11:09 am

    Shirley, how did I miss the sangria at our meeting? I didn’t even know about it — but the food was delicious as usual. Thanks for all the work you do for the meetings — I appreciate you!

    Oh, and I already bought the DVD from amazon!!
    Have a super weekend!

    • Shirley on May 28th, 2011 9:59 am

      Jennifer–Gosh, I don’t know how you missed it … I’m so sorry! I think we were all chatting enthusiastically about it before you arrived. Then I guess we were perhaps a little more mellow and not talking as much … just sipping. LOL We actually had two types of sangria. One was my homemade recipe and another was a bottle that Delise brought that was made in Spain. We didn’t get to the last one, so we’ll break that out next time and let you have the first glass! :-)

      Many, many thanks for all the kind words. Right back at you, dear, as I can always count on you to support me and our group’s efforts! The food was fantastic, including your Carrot Hijiki Salad from Ali and Tom’s Whole Life Nutrition cookbook. Everyone loved that, including me!

      Yippee on getting the DVD. I can’t wait to finish watching it. I think it’s an eye opener for all–gluten free yet or not.

      Hope you have a fantastic weekend, too! Hugsss,

  14. Linda on May 30th, 2011 1:48 pm

    That sangria sure does look refreshing, and I could use that with this heat.

    I think support groups are important too, and I think a lot of people miss out by relying on Internet support alone. We need to grow our support group, and having great speakers is a good way to bring people in. I like the Skype idea and will be suggesting that to our steering committee.

    Hugs, Linda

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