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.