Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sangria Bar

Is there a more perfect time to introduce last weekend's Sangria Bar (for a bridal shower that I hosted) than now? I'm listening to the rainfall, enjoying a crisp Sunday afternoon glass of cab, and thinking about my readers and all of my recipes lined up for the week (which I'm so desperate to share with you as the week unfolds).
As I contemplated the planning steps involved in this party, the idea of a sangria bar popped into my mind and I couldn't shake it-so I set out to create it. I figured that this would be a fabulous way to serve a large group of people afternoon drinks and would also provide a beautiful, appealing bar set-up, with the rainbow of colors involved in 3 very different sangria recipes.
I found an A-Z stamp and ink set in my craft drawer, some old wooden slabs and paint in my shed, and created a shabby chic (and also very cute!) sign listing the types of sangria that were served at the party. I propped the wooden sign up against an ice filled galvanized bucket. I emptied the dry pasta from 3 of my tall glass IKEA jars (made with a metal latch) to use as sangria vessels. These were all simple steps to creating my sangria bar, and involved materials that were easily located around my house.
On your next rainy afternoon, pour a glass of wine (or cup of tea!) and investigate multiple uses for everyday items around your own house. The transformation can be amazing (and creating change can be soothing and calming to the state of your soul).
Listed below are the three types of sangria that I chose for my party. My best childhood friend came to help me prepare for the party and played a hand in helping me sample the sangria as we went (my belief is that any good cocktail recipe MUST be sampled copiously before being served to guests at any party).

Pink Lemonade Sangria
Combine one bottle of sweet white wine (I chose a pinot grigio), one bottle of sparkling pink lemonade (the bottle that we used is featured above, doubled as a vase once consumed), 1/2 a cup of simple sugar (made by boiling a combination of water and sugar until dissolved) and 2 lemons, sliced. 
This is a cute, crisp type of sangria that would be adorable at any afternoon gathering. I love the whimsy that it adopts by using pink lemonade and taking on a light pink color. Perfect for a garden party!

Red Ginger Sangria
Combine one bottle of red wine (I used a merlot), 2 cups of ginger ale, 1 tablespoon of minced, fresh ginger, 1/2 a cup of simple sugar, 1/2 of a pineapple, cut into small chunks and 1 cup of frozen strawberries. 
This was a beautiful shade of red, and I would consider it versatile for parties hosted any time of day (or night). I would highly suggest tasting this one as you go, adding simple sugar as you see fit. Your palate may be very different than mine, and its important that you love the beverages that you choose to serve.

Sweet Honey Plum Sangria
Combine one bottle of white wine (I chose chardonnay), 3/4 cup of honey (mixed with boiling water until dissolved), 3 plums, sliced (I found 3 different kinds to add to the hue) and 1/2 a cup of blackberries. 
This was a sweet, refreshing sangria that could be served all summer long and also into early months of Autumn. Sweetened with honey, it took a different taste that the other 2 recipes which were sweetened with sugar.

I enjoyed toying with these different recipes and trying to achieve party-worthy taste and colors. This was a sweet, cost efficient way to serve a large guest list. Featured below is a fun photo of my friend, Lianne, taste testing! If you have any sangria recipes which you've loved in the past, please feel free to share. I would love to learn more! I hope you've had a wonderful weekend full of hope and laughter.

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