Sangria is the ultimate refreshing wine drink, perfect for hot summer days. Sangria is essentially a wine punch, combining red, white or rose wines with fruit juice, chunks of fresh fruit and a few splashes of liquor. It's often served in a pitcher with everything mixed together. However, for a party, setting up a "Do It Yourself" sangria station allows guests to get creative with customized sangria concoctions, allowing them to choose the wine, fruits and garnishes they prefer.
The Wine Base
Using red, white and rose wine, add each one to its own decorative pitcher or large jug. You can use any type of wine, but skip the expensive wine and opt for cheaper brands, as the flavors get diluted and masked after adding everything. To each wine, add fruit juices and optional liquors. For every bottle of wine you add to the pitchers, add up to a 1/2 cup of liquor, such as brandy, rum or a fruit-flavored liqueur, and up to a 1/2 cup of fruit juice or concentrate. You can add sugar or other sweeteners to your taste. You can also add a few splashes of club soda or lemon-lime soda if you want your sangrias a little fizzy. Don't add fruit, ice or garnishes -- that is the "do-it-yourself" part. Refrigerate the sangria mixes overnight, or until you're ready to use them.
Peel, slice and chop up a variety of fresh fruit so that your guests will have plenty of options to add to their sangrias. Include fruits such as limes, oranges, tangerines, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, watermelons, grapes, kiwis, peaches, apples and pears. Fill equal-sized, decorative containers with the fruit and label each one. Plan to cut up as much of the fruit as you can the night before and refrigerate, but wait to cut up fruit that will turn brown from oxidation quickly, such as apples and pears, until right before serving. Brush the slices with lemon juice to slow down the browning process.
Offer a variety of garnishes that your guests can top their drinks with, such as fresh mint and basil leaves, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks and even jalapeno peppers for an added kick. You can place the herb garnishes on small serving plates or, if possible, pick up potted herb plants from a specialty grocery store. The plants enhance the look of the sangria station and guests can pick the freshest herbs to garnish their drink, directly from the plants.
The Set Up
For an assembly line sangria station, set up the cups, wine glasses or small decorative jars on one end of the table, followed by the containers of fresh, cut-up fruit. Set the pitchers or jugs of wine on the table next, followed by a large bowl of ice, then the garnishes. You can also choose to set up more informally, rather than in a strict assembly line, to add to the ambiance of the table. For example, you can spread the sangria pitchers around the table, elevated on cake stands, then place the fruits you think complement each type of wine best, next to the corresponding pitcher. However you choose station set up, make sure all the wines and garnishes are easily accessible for the convenience of your guests.
- Hudson Reporter: Sangria! A New Twist on an Old Classic
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- The Guardian: How to Make the Perfect Sangria
- Wine Enthusiast: The Anatomy of Sangria
- Cooking Channel: How to Make Sangria in 3 Easy Steps
- Weddings Illustrated: 12 Delightful Drink Station Ideas
- Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images