My luv for the mountains of New Mexico is no secret around our house. Truth be told, after several weeks of 100 degree heat the thoughts of ALL sensible Texans turn to the mountains!
But this summer the schedule has been tight. Once upon a time I thought that nothing could be harder than juggling the demands of 3 young children. Twenty years later I am here to tell you that nothing can be harder than juggling the schedules of 3 adult children…
So it turned out only 3 of us had 1 weekend open to make a run to the mountains. Did it deter us that it is a 12 hour drive? Did we think it was silly to go for only 1 day? Is it really worth all that for red and green chilies, brilliant clear skies and cool mountain air?
In a word, Yes. Welcome to my Sunday in Santa Fe and the drink it inspired!
Here is the hotel where we stayed – The Inn of the Governors. For a last minute booking it turned out to be delightful and authentic.
First we had breakfast. I had a full moon cake. You will see the resemblance to Mexican wedding cookies, but they are made extra large to look like a full moon. Extra large and extra good, I might add…
We walked around town while waiting for my son to come to life, and I’m glad we did! Church bells were ringing and there was an art show underway.
The bulk of the day was spent in the Jemez Mountains. We hiked to ruins, looked down on the Rio Grande and tried not to fall off any cliffs.
Dinner brought the required avalanche of red chili sauce on the meat, green chili sauce on the veggies and honey on the sopapillas! (Because some things are better left just the way they are…especially when you only get them once a year!)
But then there is the margarita… (The original of which is carefully documented HERE.) Something new – green chili infused tequila! Of course I ordered it! Of course it was ridiculous and yummy!
Which brings me finally to my point — the local sangria. Which I also wanted, but could not possibly fit into this day! So instead I chose to make it here! This recipe mimics the sangria sorbet served at a local cafe, and delivers the freshest and fruitiest and slushiest sangria you have ever tasted!
You would never guess the secret ingredient is cantaloupe – I used a ripe Extra Sweet Tuscan Cantaloupe for the puree which forms the base of the drink. The final result can also be used as a fantastic slushy dessert sauce — over chunks of ripe melon of course!
¾ cup dry red Spanish wine
12 ounces flavored Italian soda, I used blood orange
½ ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and chopped
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup honey
4 fresh mint leaves, stemmed and finely chopped
Fresh mint sprigs, sliced oranges, sliced lemons, sliced limes for garnish
You may vary some of the liquids in this recipe to your taste – the flavor of the soda and the variety of the red wine. It is also OK to add a splash of gin or tequila if you want a stronger drink. But the cantaloupe and the mint are both essential. End of lecture.
Place the cubed cantaloupe, the orange juice, the honey and the mint in a food processor and process until smooth.
Pour into a large bowl with a spout and add the red wine and Italian soda. Blend well. Cover and place in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. Pour into a prepared ice cream maker and freeze until slushy consistency is reached, according to manufacturer’s directions.
To serve, pour into a glass and garnish with fruit slices and mint.
For a dessert treatment, pour drink over cubes of melon and garnish with mint.
Adapted from a recipe in Cafe Pasqual’s Cookbook.