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My computer has been running more and more slowly, freezing at odd moments. It makes me nervous. So in an uncommon burst of common sense, I took half an hour this morning to back up some of my files onto my external hard drive.

Tech types may have their systems set up to back up files on a regular basis, and automatically, but I’ve heard such conflicting reports about the functionality of some of the backup programs that I never trusted my files to them, and I’m too lazy to learn how to implement an automated system of my own (see also cost-benefit analysis). Me, I back up my files the old-fashioned way. (No, not paper copies. Don’t be silly. My tech solutions may be old-fashioned, but even I’m not that old fashioned. Think Ada Lovelace, not the widow of Windsor.)

I copy and paste them. So easy, even you can do it! Back up your files today. Because having someone salvage them from the wreckage of your hard drive may result in weird formatting errors.

This has been a post-Victorian public service announcement.

o O o

Near Talisker distillery | Isle of Skye, September 2012

Near Talisker distillery | Isle of Skye, September 2012

As an even better PSA, here’s the “recipe” for last night’s sangria. I got the bones here, but mostly I followed the time-honored tradition of throwing in whatever was around until I got more or less the taste I wanted. Luckily for you, I’m a scientific type and measured my ingredients to facilitate later duplication and/or experimentation.

1 bottle (750 mL) white wine
2 c apple, peach, mango & passionfruit juice blend (not 2 cups of each)
3/4 c brandy
3 c club soda
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 pear
4 small plums
1 orange

Pour liquids into jar. Dissolve brown sugar in 1-2 tbsp hot water, possibly in a saucepan, and mix into other liquids. Slice oranges and cut other fruit into bite-sized pieces and add. Let sit, refrigerated, at least one hour. Serve in fun glasses with stems, possibly over ice, and make sure to spoon some of the fruit into each glass.

That’s the basic recipe. Now here’s the good part, where I give you the benefit of my experience and save you making my mistake.  Do dissolve the sugar in something before adding it to the mix; the surface of the granulated sugar reacts with the soda, burning off some of the carbonation, and some of the sugar ends up on the bottom of the container instead of mixed in. I didn’t think I would need sugar at all, but I used pinot grigio and unsweetened fruit juice, which gave the resulting sangria an acidity that was tart, yet rather refreshing. I’ll probably go for a sweeter wine next time, as acidity isn’t my favorite. 

As for fruit, the (slightly overripe) pear soaked up the sangria like a champ and was delicious to eat. The plums were less ripe and more tart and didn’t soak up as much. Definitely include orange slices in your sangria, as they create a very summery visual effect and are delicious even before adding alcohol.

Now go forth and enjoy your sangria-soaked summer. Pay no attention to the weather. 59 F is absolutely warm enough for sangria.