I recently celebrated a birthday and per tradition, my friends took me out for a group dinner. When they asked what I wanted to eat, I responded pretty much the same way I do every year: tapas and sangria.
I believe the Spanish are onto something when it comes to entertaining. Sangria — a mixture of dry wine, fruit, liquor and sugar — just may be the best “wine cooler” you’ve ever tasted, and it’s fun and festive to serve to friends. I would know, considering we consumed more than two (okay, three) pitchers during the meal. And it’s even better when enjoyed with a big plate of paella.
Red wine forms the base for traditional sangria, but try a white wine version for a summer afternoon spent poolside. Add whatever fruits look ripest at the farmers’ market for a refreshing cool-down.
1/2 lemon, sliced and seeded
1/2 orange, sliced and seeded
1/2 apple, cored and sliced
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 bottle dry red wine
3 Tbs. brandy
About 2 cups soda water
Place the lemon, orange, apple, strawberries and sugar in a large pitcher. Pour in the wine and brandy and stir with a long-handled spoon. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Just before serving, add up to 2 cups soda water. Stir again and serve over ice in tall glasses. Serves 6.