Holy Sangria! A Perfect Party

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Over a year ago my good friend Alison and friends had a potluck party. But this was not your ordinary, casserole-themed potluck. This, dear friends, was a sangria potluck. Everyone was asked to bring a sangria punch in appropriate beverage dispenser or pitcher, and some savory food to match it. Then everyone tasted and nibbled and ultimately voted on the best sangria, the winner walking home with a prize.


I thought this was such a fun way to do a dinner party or even birthday party. Had I more friends up here in the Pac Northwest, I'd for sure be doing this in June for myself! 

The point of this party is to be easy and colorful and creative. You don't need anything fancy or extraordinary to pull it off. And it's fun to name your concoction as well, like this one below called "Greek God."

Be really creative with your sangrias. Although most of us know the version using red wine, white sangrias using white wines are also extremely tasty and refreshing. This one below uses a drier white wine like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc, and then using a melon baller, cut out balls from canteloupe and green melon.

It makes a very pretty and delicate presentation. You could of course use any melon here: watermelon, Israeli melon, or combination of all of them. Try to research the wine you're using and bring out the natural flavors or scents in it. Pears, apples, and other stone fruits like peaches or nectarines would work beautifully in a white sangria as well, and if you did it right you could probably use a melon baller on those fruits as well.

I love that the people at this party used beverage dispensers for their sangrias. Not only is it a pretty presentation, it's also easy to use and easy to transport.

If you plan to do the voting for the best sangria at the party, simply lay out some plastic cups and napkins with some sciccors, tape, and pens for your guests. Ask them to write the name of their sangria on their cup and place it in front of their sangria. Display an example like they did here below.

And don't forget the food!

I love that everyone was asked to bring a sangria and a food item. It doesn't have to be terribly difficult or even that authentic (hello burgers and fries from someone!). Dips, salsas, sandwiches, fried foods, anything will work for this. I recommend you keep it finger-food style for easy consumption, especially when you'll have guests with a drink in one hand. Adding food that requires utensils makes it hard and now they need two hands to hold the plate and eat with the fork. Even worse if they have to cut something. So keep it with dips, sandwiches, friend finger foods, bite-sized items like sliders and fries or wings.

Here's a great basic white wine sangria recipe from famed Spanish shef Jose Andres to get you started, and a classic Spanish tapas recipe for garlic shrimp to go with it. Do some research and check out The Enchanted Spoon for more sangria recipes andperfect appetizers to do for your next Sangria Party!

White Wine Sangria   by Jose Andres
1 cup chopped mixed fresh fruits: strawberries, peaches, white grapes

1 bottle of Spanish cava or other dry sparkling wine
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup white grape juice
¼ cup Licor 43 or any vanilla flavored liqueur
1 teaspoons sugar
1 small fresh mint sprig

Fill a glass pitcher halfway with ice and add the chopped fruits. Tilt the pitcher and pour the cava very slowly down the side; this will help retain the bubbles. In another pitcher or bowl with spout, combine the brandy, Licor 43, white grape juice, and sugar, then pour the mixture into the sparkling wine and fruit. Give a quick stir and add the mint sprig. When serving, make sure each glass gets some ice and fruits.

Gambas al Ajillo  "Shrimp with Garlic"     by Jose Andres

1/2 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves removed and roughly chopped
2.5 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 guindilla chili pepper (or your favorite dried chili pepper) to taste
splash of brandy
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat flame. Add the garlic and sauté until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and the chili pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.Turn the shrimp over and sauté for another minute.Pour in the brandy and cook for another minute. Sprinkle with the parsley, add salt to taste, and serve.

*This will serve about 10 people for a party.

1 comment:

degarrido said...

Love it! Just returned from Buenos Aires and some awesome sangrias...it's summer there! We were also at the beach in Uruguay and I made a tropical sangria one day...incredible!