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Virgin Sangria

For us, summer is about time… having the day and nothing in particular that has to happen.  And so, as berries and peaches come to us in bounty, our only job is to figure out what to do with them.


Beluga takes an egg-slicer in hand and re-purposes it to strawberries.  I pull a peach and orange out of the fridge, cut off their skins and dice the juicy flesh.


Beluga sees the mounting pile of fruit and declares, “I want to try this… and this… and this…” pointing at all the tempting morsels.  He nibbles and as his appetite wanes, I tell him, “You can put everything into the pitcher.”

“Except the stems?”

“That’s right.”

“And the leaves?”

“Oh, yeah.”

He enjoys correcting me.


At three, Beluga doesn’t trust his hands fully.

I hand him a jar half-full of grape juice and suggest, “Pour it.”

“That’s a little tricky,” he answers, unsure of my request, but happy to give it a try.


A moment later, he looks at the counter, sees one stray drop and tells me, “Look, I spilled it.”  But, it’s given him the confidence to pick up the much larger bottle of seltzer.


What he doesn’t anticipate – to his delight – are bubbles upon bubbles gurgling up to the pitcher’s lip.


Once the thrill subsides, he notices mint on the counter and declares, “We want minty mint!”  He carefully plucks several leaves.


When I pour a glass, he sneaks the mint inside, and I look back to see him reaching for a taste.  I offer him the whole thing.

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Virgin Sangria
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This is a recipe born of a slow summer afternoon. With one child in a chance slumber on the couch, and the other restless, we set to work and the result is delicious.
  • An Orange
  • A Peach
  • A Lime
  • A Lemon
  • A Handful of Strawberries
  • ½ c. Grape Juice
  • 4 c. Seltzer
  • 5 Tbs Sugar
  • A Splash of Water
  1. Cut the skins off the peach and orange and dice the fruits.
  2. Juice the Lemon and Lime.
  3. Slice up the strawberries. A small child can use an egg slicer to do the job, just trim off the leaves and stems first, if they’re large or tough.
  4. Pour the sugar in a glass jar, cover with water and microwave for a minute, to melt the sugar. Stir. Of course, you can also use pre-made simple syrup or just pour boiling water over the sugar… or skip the sugar entirely if you prefer a lighter version.
  5. Toss all your fruit into a large pitcher, followed by the sweet syrup you’ve made, then add the grape juice, lemon and lime juice, and seltzer.
  6. I like to cover my pitcher and keep it in the refrigerator for several hours, letting all the flavors stew before drinking. If you’re impatient, add some ice to make sure it’s plenty cold.