When it comes right down to it, I am a rather boring guy. I don’t drink beer for the most part, I can’t remember the last time I had an actual cocktail, scotch is for suckers, and mimosas are a waste of perfectly good sparkling wine (I caught my cousins using Bollinger for mimosas and I almost lost my mind—just because you are mixing in OJ does not negate the fact that you are having booze before noon—just drink the Bolly straight up for Chrissakes).
So when I was offered to sample some “Sangria” I was skeptical as it is outside my normal parameters—don’t mix any crap in with my wine, just give me the bottle and a glass and I can handle the rest. On top of the above, there was the issue of a pre-made product. I have a big enough problem when people mix in various products with perfectly good wine, now you are going to do that for me?
Nonetheless, I surveyed my samples on hand, realized I was getting a bit low, so I responded “sure” (or something equally mind-blowingly inane). Once the two bottles arrived, however, I started to have second thoughts. It looked like a bottle of wine, but it is called “Sangria” and comes with instructions:
JUST ADD ICE
Hmmmm. All of a sudden I was overcome with memories of my childhood: salt and pepper in the same shaker, microwaveable S’mores, and this abomination:
Peanut butter and jelly in the same freaking jar. Are we really that lazy as Americans?
Wait, don’t answer that.
So, here I was with a bottle of white and red pre-made Sangria staring me in the face and all I could thing about was the poor schmoe whose mother actually buys Smucker’s Goober Spread.
So I did what I normally do—nothing. I put it on the samples shelf and hoped they would go away.
Then, a few days ago, I came home and it was blistering hot. It had to be over a hundred degrees with even more humidity. I was dying for something cold, with alcohol, and cold. Really cold (hence the repetition). The problem? I did not have the foresight to throw a rosé or even a Pinot Grigio in the fridge that morning.
So I became depressed—I had no desire to wait the requisite 30 minute freezer time for a bottle to chill. And then those words came back to me:
JUST ADD ICE
For years, I had ridiculed my relatives for adding ice to their “Chablis” but this was different—I could not be accused of being a hypocrite (I hate being called a hypocrite) since the instructions are right there on the bottle:
JUST ADD ICE
I grabbed a Tom Collins glass (at least what I think is a Tom Collins glass), threw in a bunch of ice cubes, grabbed the bottle of White Joya Sangria, gave a quick twist to the top, and poured.
My first impression?
I could only taste the heat of the alcohol—and I did not want any more heat. If I wanted more heat, I would move to Houston. Dejected, I put the rest of the bottle in the fridge, left the glass in the kitchen, threw a Sancerre rosé in the freezer, and went upstairs to change.
I came down several minutes later and instinctively picked up the Tom Collins glass of half-melted cubes and drank.
Dare I say…
I have to say I really liked it—it was by no means introspective or even intriguing, but it really hit the spot on that hot afternoon. Since that revelation, I have been having a glass every day—I even look forward to it! It’s fruity, just a bit of alcohol (12%), and oh so cold.
The key? Despite the directions to:
JUST ADD ICE
for me, the key is to also chill the “Sangria” as the colder it gets, the more refreshing and fruity it seems to become.
Joya White Sangria has notes of lemon, grapefruit, and peach while the Joya Red Sangria was more plum and blueberry so I imagine throwing any of those fruits in with the ice would not be construed as a bad idea. Except by me: Joya Sangria is just fine on its own (as long as it’s cold), but people hear “Sangria” and they immediately think that they need to throw an entire fruit salad in with the wine. Personally, I don’t like flotillas in my beverages and the ice is already there–why add any more choking hazards?
Yeah, I know, I’m complicated.
Joya Sangria ($13), however, is not:
JUST ADD ICE (and make sure the bottle is chilled).