Our neighborhood committee does more than just put up poopie bags in the park in an effort to keep the neighborhood clean and safe. In true New Orleans style, they also sponsor an annual Halloween party! Nothing says neighborhood, ahem, spirit, like kids, candy and drinks. In anticipation of our pre-Halloween party roles as candy-giver-outers my husband, Nick, erected a fabulous graveyard scene at the back of our house. Though the end result was outstanding, it does baffle the mind why, in a 160 year old house, we have to stage cobwebs. In the end, I do think our neighbors get top marks in the clever category for the skeletal likeness perched on their porch rocker with wine glass in hand.
When we were asked to contribute to the neighborhood party, the first thing we thought of was delicious and seasonally appropriate Mulled Wine. A quick check of weather.com put an end to that idea as we learned the temperature was expected to reach 75 degrees on Halloween. So - out went Mulled Wine and in came the even more seasonally appropriate, Sangria!
Sangria comes from the Spanish word, sangre which literally translates to blood. It would be difficult to come up with a better option for a Halloween drink. It is cheap, quick and easy to make and is a bit more interesting for a party than just bottles of wine and beer. Did I mention cheap?
"Authentic" Sangria is a cheap red wine mixed with cheap fruit and with sugar added. We can jazz it up a bit - but do not get too hung up on formalities here. This is meant to be a fun party drink. And if you do not want to be quickly spotted as a tourist in Spain, get your fill here. When in Spain, stick to vino!
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 lemon - sliced with peel on
2 oranges - sliced with peel on or peeled and broken into segments
2 small, tart apples cored and sliced, or diced but leave peel on
2 bottles of red wine - rioja, California merlot, red zinfandel, syrah something inexpensive and full bodied.
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier (optional - and I do not recommend it)
Make a simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool.
In a pitcher or container large enough to hold all contents, place all fruits. Pour the two bottles of wine over the fruits, add the orange juice and half of the simple syrup mixture and refrigerate for 2 hours. Taste - and add the other half of the sugar mixture if you want a sweeter Sangria.
You can make this up to a day in advance, but give yourself at least 2 hours for the flavors to really fuse.
Sangria must be served in wine glasses and ice cold. I choose not to include Grand Marnier in my Sangria, because I think the drink already packs quite a punch. Try it yourself and see what you think but be aware that your guests will treat Sangria as if it is a punch. Which, if left unsupervised, means big, Mardi Gras cups of the beverage. Fun while you are drinking them...not so much fun the next morning.
Mwah-ha-ha-ha & Cheers!