COCKTAILS FOR A CROWD ~ A SANGRIA ADVENTURE!

Ahhh it’s finally time…summertime is right around the corner and the entertaining season is upon us. What a better way to spend some time soaking up that extra Vitamin D than to gather with friends and family outdoors and throw a party? As the days get warmer and the sun burns brighter, nothing welcomes the season like an ice-cold cocktail, but serving cocktails to a crowd can burden you with mixing cocktails vs. mingling with guests. So we have the perfect crowd-pleasing—and summer loving—cocktail plan. SANGRIA!

Sangria is the Spanish name for a sugar-sweetened wine and fruit cocktail. Rumored to be first introduced to the US at the 1964 World’s Fair, Sangrias are a seasonal favorite for spring and summer, which is why they are a great choice for outdoor grilling and parties.
The fun part about Sangria is that there are endless combinations of wine and fruit for you to choose from. Feel like peaches? There’s a Sangria for that! How about apples + oranges and a little lemon? There’s a Sangria for that, too!

Better yet, Sangrias are meant to be made ahead of time, saving you prep time on party day. To get you started, we’ve created a simple and light white wine Sangria, with some ideas for fun presentation.

Let’s get this party started!

DECORATIVE ICE

Sangria is made in batches so you need a lot of ice to cool the large volume of liquid. To add in a fun and functional element to your Sangria, consider putting a little time into making a decorative ice mold to keep things stylish and cool! We love Tovolo’s Sphere Ice Molds as the perfect accent to your Sangria. Adding citrus pieces to the slow melting 2.5” sphere brings out the added flavor of your cocktail as it melts. With just three easy steps you’re on your way to beautiful ice!

Gidget_Ice1Step One:

Select the fruit you’ll use in your Sangria. Lemons and oranges are great choices, as are a few limes. Slice your citrus fruit thinly and set aside. Try a citrus peeler for a long strand of lemon or orange.

Gidget_Ice2Step Two:

Arrange fruit inside of the mold. You can wedge pieces into the mold or curl the citrus strand and place into sphere. Slowly pour water into mold up to the fill line and cover. Freeze overnight.

 

 

Gidget_Ice3Step Three:

Run molds under warm water to release and place into bowl. Keep in freezer until ready to add to your Sangria.

 

 

 

ENDLESS SUMMER SANGRIA
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Now that you’ve got your ice made, this Sangria is ideal for a crowd and makes for a delicious and memorable party drink. For our wine we went with a Sauvignon Blanc, a wine often described as crisp, elegant, and fresh. Add a little brandy and other summer-loving fruits and your guests will polish off every last drop. Cheers to an Endless Summer!

TOOLS :: Pitcher, large stirring spoon, strainer + punch bowl or beverage dispenser
GLASS :: Highball
EXTRAS :: large ice cubes {they minimize melting} and fruit for garnish
SERVINGS :: 15-20 cocktails

INGREDIENTS
1.5L bottle Sauvignon Blanc
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. Brandy {We used Christian Brothers Honey Brandy}
1/2 c. Triple Sec
1/4 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice {Meyer lemons}
1-2 thinly sliced apples
1-2 thinly sliced oranges
1 thinly sliced lemon
1 1/2 c. Club Soda

Pour wine and sugar into pitcher and stir to combine until sugar dissolves. Add Brandy, Triple Sec and fruit juices and stir to combine. Add apples and oranges only and chill mixture overnight. Make garnishes and set aside. Just before serving, add lemons and club soda, stirring to combine mixture. Pour mixture and fruit into ice-filled beverage dispenser. Provide ice and glasses. Stir Sangria every hour to ensure flavors combine.

Your fancy-schmancy ice spheres look just amazing as they chill your Endless Summer Sangria!

Your fancy-schmancy ice spheres look just amazing as they chill your Endless Summer Sangria!

SKIP THE PUMPKIN PIE :: Thanksgiving DESSERT Cocktails

After Thanksgiving dinner most people dive head first into a slice of pie. Tradition generally calls for pecan pie or pumpkin pie with a big dollop of whipped cream. This year we’ve decided to tempt you to skip that plate (or even add to it) and dive into these yummy Thanksgiving dessert cocktails instead. There’s no better way to unwind from your Thanksgiving holiday efforts, and we think making a cocktail happens to be a lot easier (and faster) than baking a pie. And it’s also a great way to perk you up after all that nap-inducing turkey!

To check out all 6 dessert recipes, visit The Good Stuff online magazine HERE. We created a G+LaR original cocktail for the article, happily named AUNTIES APPLE PIE MARTINI. We figured that just about everyone has an Auntie who makes the best apple pie at Thanksgiving. We’ve given that classic pie an upgrade with this delicate, refined cocktail. The spicy flavors of Rum compliment the carmel apple and honey ingredients for a drink even your Auntie will enjoy!

AUNTIE’S APPLE PIE MARTINI

A true crowd-pleaser for Thanksgiving dessert ~ Auntie's Apple Pie Martini

A true crowd-pleaser for Thanksgiving dessert ~ Auntie’s Apple Pie Martini

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, small plates (2)
GLASS :: Martini
EXTRAS ::  thin slice of apple + cinnamon sugar for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
4 oz. Dark Spiced Rum {we went with Captain Morgans}
4 oz. Hiram Walker Carmel Apple Liqueur
2 oz. Honey Liqueur {Christian Brothers works well}
1 oz. Maple syrup
1/2 oz. Half-and-Half creamer

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, add all ingredients. Shake well {shake it like you mean it!} and strain mixture evenly between two cocktail glasses. For garnish, on a small plate mix granulated sugar with cinnamon until combined. On another plate pour small amount of maple syrup – about 1 tablespoon. Cut thin slices from apple and run the skin side through maple syrup then coat with cinnamon sugar mixture. Garnish each drink with apple slice.

TRY AN APPLE COCKTAIL THIS FALL

With the variety of apples spilling out of farmers market stalls this time of year, we simply cannot narrow down which apple is our favorite. One thing is for sure–we want to put on our mixology hat and experiment with some apple cocktails. We decided to have some fun and the resulting cocktails will give you as many varieties as there are apples on the market!

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Johnny A’s Cider Martini
A good cocktail balances tartness against sweetness, just like a peak-of-season apple. This delish cocktail brings that balance to perfection.

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, strainer, muddler
GLASS ::  Martini or Coupe
EXTRAS :: thin crosswise slice of lady apple for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
4 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Apple Cider
2 oz. Maple syrup
1 Lady Apple – chopped
1 lime, cut into quarters

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
In cocktail shaker, muddle together apple cubes and lime wedges. Add ice to shaker, then add in maple syrup, cider and vodka. Shake well and use a fine wire strainer. Double strain mixture into cocktail glasses. Garnish with apple slice.

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