In the public eye, my husband Dr. Stewart is a heart surgeon known for his skills on the operating table, but to friends and family he is Bartender Allan- Master Mixologist and Libation Extraordinaire. While I’m in the kitchen whipping up hors d’oeuvres and entrees, Allan is the master of his domain at the bar. Sangria is one of his specialties, so here’s some tips on how to concoct the perfect sangria for your next party.
- Start with a decent wine. Most people settle for a cheap wine as the basis for your sangria, but you should be a little more choosey. Get rid of that jug of Carlo Rossi/ boxed Franzia stuff and opt for something better. You don’t have to splurge- just something in the $10-$15 range. Allan’s favorite red to use is Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Follow Allan’s signature recipe: 8 bottles of wine, 4 cups VSOP cognac, 2 cups triple sec, 4 cups orange juice, 4 cups pomegranate juice, 1 cup sugar, 2 sliced oranges, and 2 cubed apples. There are never, ever any complaints.
- Let the flavors marry. Make this sangria the day before your party, so the flavors marry overnight. It’s a very important step! Taste the sangria the day of the party and alter accordingly. If it’s too strong– dilute it with some juice, club soda, or water. Needs more kick? Maybe an extra splash of brandy!
- Play with the holidays and the seasons. Traditionally, sangria calls for macerated fruit so go for seasonal: apples in the winter accompanied with cinnamon sticks or peaches and oranges in the summer. For Halloween, we added floating eyeballs for a spooky twist.
- Get the right serving vessel. For a small gathering, sangria is perfect served from a pitcher. If you’re expecting more than just a few people- invest in one of these awesome dispensers from Amazon.com. We love the ones that carry ice underneath the sangria- they don’t dilute the drink! Keep a ladle handy too, so people can scoop out fruit if they desire!