Welcome to Foxes Love Lemons Sangria Party Week 2014! I had such a great time throwing a backyard sangria party last year that I decided to do it again! Stay tuned all week for details about party planning, sangria recipes, appetizers, dinner and desserts!
The most important part of any sangria party is obviously the sangria itself. Each year, I make two types of sangria – one with red wine and one with white wine. I’ll share the recipes I used this year below, but first some general tips:
- As I mentioned yesterday, you will need a lot of ice for this party for people to fill and re-fill their glasses. Just ask several guests to bring bags of ice, and stash a cooler full of ice right near the sangria so it’s always readily available.
- We learned the hard way this year that stray blueberries can get stuck in the spigot part of beverage dispensers and prevent the sangria from dispensing at all. So, if you’re going to be serving a sangria with berries in it, either serve it out of pitchers, or devise a system to prevent the berries from entering the dispensing part of the jug. Luckily, I had an engineer husband and two friends volunteer to remedy the situation this year using a (new) piece of window screen, tape, and ingenuity.
- I like to make both sangrias on Thursday, for a Saturday party. The earlier you can make the sangria, the better, as the flavor improves after a few days.
- Just go ahead and use cheap wine. In the end, the fruit you add to the wine is what’s going to make the difference, and even the cheapest wine tastes great once it’s been hanging out with a bunch of fruit for a few days.
- Quantity is tricky, because it all depends on how long the party is, how warm it is outside, how many friends live within walking distance (or are spending the night), and if every guest will be drinking the sangria. This year, we ended up going through 11 bottles of wine for 14 guests (but the party started at 4pm, and the last guests left at 2:30 am, so we had quite awhile to drink it all). The best thing to do is make a bit more than you think you’ll need, and keep some extra wine, soda and other ingredients on hand so that you can quickly make another batch.
- A big tray of fruit garnishes proved popular this year. However, if you go this route, you really don’t need to serve fruit salad with dinner. Because, um, no one will eat it. Another lesson learned the hard way.
The white sangria this year was Cucumber White Sangria from Midwest Living. I made a quadruple batch, and used Sprite Zero in place of seltzer water for extra flavor. The only other deviation I made from the recipe is that I did not stir in ice, but rather just let guests fill their glasses with ice and pour the sangria over. It’s the only sangria I’ve ever made where the wine sits with fruit, then that fruit is strained out and discarded, and new fruit is added. It was a bit of work, but in the end, the flavor was great so I think it was totally worth it.
This year’s red sangria was Berry Sangria from Kitchen Confidante. I again made a quadruple batch, and deviated from the recipe in a few ways. I only added half the rum that is called for, so it wouldn’t be too strong. I also added only about one third the simple syrup that is called for, because I prefer my sangrias on the less sweet side. Additionally, I added some sliced oranges for extra fruit flavor. I did not add the optional mint (since there was mint in the other sangria) or optional ice (again, let guests put ice in each glass). I used Sprite Zero in this sangria as well.
For serving, I used a variety of plastic wine tumblers, and, in classic sangria style, Ball brand mason jars. I’ve long been a fan of these jars for their style and functionality. In fact, my fridge and pantry are full of them, as I use them to store and organize all sorts of grains, pastas and baking ingredients.
On Saturday August 16, Jarden Home Brands will host the first annual International Can-It-Forward Day with special guest renowned chef and Bravo’s Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson! A day to celebrate home canning, International Can-It-Forward Day allows food enthusiasts to connect via a variety of online and in-person activities. New and experienced canners can participate in a live webcast on www.freshpreserving.com, taking place in Brooklyn Borough Hall Farmers Market, filled with canning demos where viewer questions will be answered in real-time by Chef Acheson and other experts while they learn the most popular (and delicious) home canning recipes. Twenty five farmers markets across the country will also be hosting Can-It-Forward Day celebrations!
In honor of this special event, Ball is giving away a mason jar prize pack to one lucky reader! Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below (US residents only). The prize pack includes:
· 2 cases (1 quart, 1 pint) of the new Limited Edition Spring Green Heritage Collection Jars: These limited edition jars commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Ball brothers’ “Perfection” Jar and come in a beautiful green tint. (Pint retail value: $9.99 per case/ Quart retail value $12.99 per case)
· 4-pack 16oz Drinking Mugs: These sturdy handled mugs are perfect for entertaining and serving mocktails, cocktails or simply infused water! (Retail value: $9.99)
· Mason Jar Infuser: This sturdy BPA-free plastic top fits on any wide mouth mason jar and is equipped with a hanging basket which you can fill with your favorite herbs, fruits, etc to add a hint of flavor to water, tea or spirits. (Retail value: $5.99)
· Sip & Straw Lids: Fitting perfectly atop any Wide Mouth or Regular Mouth Ball Jar, these easy sip lids allow you to enjoy every last drop of your beverage. Use alone or with the included reusable green striped straw for convenience on the go. (Retail value: $4.99)
All Sangria Party Week 2014 Posts:
This post was written by me on behalf of Ball Canning, who provided me with mason jars and related products for review and giveaway purposes. I was not otherwise compensated for writing this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.