Food, Glorious Food: Towering birthday burgers


The towering birthday burgers we made this weekend contained (from top to bottom of the burger):

  • Toasted top bun
  • Fresh tomato salsa
  • Parma ham
  • Mature cheddar
  • Homemade burger patty
  • Fried egg
  • More cheese
  • Another homemade burger patty
  • Fresh guacamole
  • Toasted bottom bun

This followed a massive bowl of tasty chicken wings with Reggae Reggae sauce, and was accompanied by some pink cava sangria. Once we recovered from the food overdose, we topped it all up with some birthday cake! Oooofff…

Pitcher perfect sangria recipe

Summer has officially landed in the UK. Not a single cloud in the sky and scents of burnt barbecued meats wafting around. Oh and plenty of people also burnt to a crisp, based on my supermarket observations this morning.

Every BBQ must be accompanied by appropriate drinks. To me, that means a great big pitcher of cold, juicy sangria. After last weekend’s humongous BBQ/Garden warming party where pitchers of it were drunk faster than I could make it, I thought I should share my (not-so) secret recipe.

Vero’s Pitcher Perfect Sangria Recipe


  • 3 parts red wine
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • 1 part lemonade (Sprite or 7-Up to the North Americans)
  • A good glug of apricot or cherry brandy
  • Lime, lemon and orange cut into small pieces
  • A splash of grenadine (optional, but a good addition if your wine isn’t so fruity/sweet)

For this recipe, don’t worry about using your best bottle of vintage red. A reasonable supermarket’s own brand red wine will do the job just fine. We tend to use Shiraz, since it’s less heavy than, say, a Merlot.

When getting lemons and limes, leave them out of the fridge the day you make sangria and roll them around under your palm before cutting the fruit. You’ll get much more juice out of them that way.

If you’re expecting to be on a marathon drinking session starting with a lunchtime BBQ, you might want to lighten up the recipe with more juices to avoid feeling woozy too early in the day. 😉

Alternative recipes:

White sangria:
Substitute red wine for white wine, use apricot brandy instead of cherry brandy for a lighter, tannin-free sangria.

Cava sangria:
Substitute red wine for a bottle of Cava or sparkling wine for a celebratory, bubbly sangria.

Bellini sangria:
Using red, white or sparkling wine, replace brandy with Archers peach schnapps and put in pieces of soft, juicy peaches instead of lemons and limes. This makes a less acidic, sweeter alternative to the classic sangria recipe.

Looking for more great summer cocktails? Check out Cocktail Happy for loads of great, easy drinks recipes!