bourbon summer sangria.

I have probably sat down to write a new post at least a hundred times over the last year. I have so much to say, so many new things to tell you all about. But the words just weren’t there.

It’s been the same song and dance each time I’ve tried to write, fingers hovering, ready and poised over the keyboard. I’ll stare into the blankness of a new document, looking past it, unfocused, like I’m trying to find the hidden image in an autostereogram.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, or any new recipes to share. I just don’t know where to begin. I haven’t written anything that wasn’t directly related to my schoolwork in over a year. I haven’t  I left this space, my tiny little corner of the Internet, to idle and collect dust. One month, then two, then six passed. I gave myself an out, owing my lack of free time to the unyielding demands and pressures of grad school.

At first, it was remarkably easy, allowing myself to forget about writing for myself, for this site. Eventually, the guilt crept up, as guilt is often wont to do. I tucked it away, along with the self-loathing and frustration I felt each time I thought about how long it had been since I last updated my site. I stopped checking my site analytics and e-mail accounts. I just shut down. I compartmentalized. I had to. Otherwise, there’s no way in hell I would’ve made it through the three ring circus that was my first year of grad school.

A few months ago, I realized that it was time to start thinking about writing again. I wasn’t feeling quite as crushed or overwhelmed as I had been the previous semester, when I was barely treading water. We moved into a larger apartment, one that didn’t make me feel breathless and claustrophobic and trapped, as our previous two sublets had. I began cooking again, and even took photos on occasion. But when it came time to actually write, I just couldn’t. The words just weren’t there.

How are you supposed to re-introduce yourself to the world, when you can’t write a single sentence?

 I hemmed, and I hawed. At this point, nine months had passed since I last wrote anything or updated my site. I began to panic. It’s been too long since I’ve posted anything new, so whatever I make and write about next has to be over-the-top!

You know, brainstorming can be a real bitch when you’re completely disenchanted.

I started compiling recipe ideas again, scrawling lists full of promise and sweetness and hopefully, deliverance. I baked! I baked brownies and cookies and cakes, all gluten free of course, since my body decided to stop tolerating gluten a year ago. I stacked and frosted layer cakes, and allowed myself to marvel at their loveliness. I could start again, and  maybe it would be okay that I hadn’t posted in damn near a year’s time. Maybe, just maybe I could come back.

But still, the words just weren’t there. Nothing felt right. The beautiful layer cakes suddenly seemed…desperate. Like I was trying too hard, standing in the middle of a crowded room on top of a chair, screaming, “Please, please, look at me! Remember me? I’m fancy and pretty! Love me!”

The words still aren’t quite here, even now. I still don’t know where to begin, or what to say, or how to say it. I’m a little rusty, but I know the only way I can start writing again is to start writing again. I would rather start off small, than not start at all.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my return to blogging than with a cocktail. It just feels right. Sangria. It’s quintessentially summer. I’m crazy for sangrias which use white or rose wine, but I’ve been trying to get in the habit of drinking more red wine. You know, for heart health.

I’ve been playing around with sangria recipes lately because I’m throwing a wedding shower at the end of the summer for my wonderful best friend and her wonderful fiancé, and sangria may or may not be one of the beverages I’ll be serving. This particular sangria is quite rich and deeply flavored, thanks to the inclusion of bourbon, bitters, and orange liqueur.

 I simply used the fruit I had on hand: oranges, lemons, limes, and Rainier cherries (my favorite!), but I think this sangria would be incredible with a medley of stone fruits: peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots. Amazing.

I suppose the important thing is’t coming back with a bang, or making some sort of grand re-entrance. It’s not about pomp or circumstance or fanfare or a ticker tape parade. In the end, what matters is simply returning. So, simply put, I am back, and I will try in earnest to update and post and share recipes on some sort of semi-frequent basis. I have missed you all so dearly.

Bourbon Summer Sangria

this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bottles red wine (I like syrah or shiraz, but use what you love. Rose would be wonderful here as well!)
  • 1 cup good quality bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons old fashioned bitters
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup orange liqueur
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and roughly chopped or smashed
  • 2 cups sparkling water (I used San Pellegrino sparkling blood orange, which I recommend if you can find it!)

Directions:

  1. In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients except the sparkling water.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours for the flavors to meld together. Overnight is even better.
  3. To serve, top off with sparkling water.

a food + words original