Tuesday, December 29, 2009


My Uncle John has always been a big kid.

He is goofy and is always up for having a good ole time. Uncle John, affectionately known as Jano (pronounced "John-Oh") in our family, is my dad's youngest brother. I remember when my brother and I were younger, Uncle Jano would always be the first to suggest playing games or watching Home Alone and The Grinch during the holidays. He would always sleep on a mattress in the living room on Christmas Eve night, claiming he was going to wait for Santa Claus.

Why Jano? For years, I thought the name "Jano" was originated by my mom's Puerto Rican side of the family just to spite him. This year, on Christmas day, I learned that Jano is a nickname that has been with my uncle since he was young. Since Lebanon used to be a French Colony, some people (especially from my dad's generation or earlier) have French names. Uncle John's name was "Jean", later changed to John when he moved to Florida during his high school years. It was explained to me that in Lebanon, Jano is a nickname for Jean in the same way Bob is a nickname for Robert or Bill is a nickname for William in the U.S.

Make of that bit of trivia what you will.

Uncle Jano has lived in South Florida (close to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami for the better part of that past 8 years (I am estimating here). Since the population of this area is overwhelmingly hispanic, I am often greeted with phone calls to my uncle in spanish: Hola, como estas? Muy bien! It doesn't really get much more in depth than that (although I imagine he has picked up quite a bit living down there for so long).

While I am unsure about my uncle's Spanish speaking pursuits, I am sure of one thing: he knows his sangria. He has been making this recipe for years. He got the base for it from a Cuban restaurant in his area after asking the waiter what was in it one evening. This recipe is nice. It is easy, not too sweet, not too strong (although apparently strong enough to get my mom nice and relaxed after one small glass).

Uncle Jano's Sangria

One bottle of a flavorful red wine (we used a Spanish Rioja wine)
3/4 C orange juice
3/4 C cranberry juice
3/4 C sprite or ginger ale
2 tbsp brandy*
1 small red delicious

* Brandy was not a part of the original recipe, but we added it since we had it sitting around and a lot of sangria recipes include it. I think it was a success.

Pour all the liquids together into a a large pitcher, and mix with a long wooden spoon.
Slice the apple into thin wedges (about 1/8 inch thick each), and dump them into the pitcher.

Place the sangria into the refrigerator (you may want to cover with some plastic wrap if the pitcher is open at the top).
Allow it to chill for at least 2 hours (preferably over night).
Serve over ice with a few apple slices in each glass.

Tip: You may want to add other fruit slices (like orange or mango) to the sangria as well; I just prefer it to be simple.

1 comment:

The Boston Lady said...

I'm feeling a little thirsty now! I like the simplicity of this recipe and since Mr. Tennis and I love Sangria, I will be trying this one out very soon! With the Brandy...... Uncle Jano sounds like a fun uncle!

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