Hack my sangria party!
June 7, 2016 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I am hosting an event tomorrow at a nonprofit and have promised a free sangria bar. I have three types of sangria in mind, but in the interest of saving money, I'm wondering if I can buy fewer ingredients that I can duplicate over two or all three recipes. I'm getting overwhelmed by all the potential combinations, plus a general lack of knowledge on how different liquors will mingle with certain fruit/wine flavors. Help!

Here are the three recipes I am eyeing. I like the idea of having a white, a red, and a rosé.

White wine and peach sangria
Classic red sangria
Strawberry rosé sangria

The grocery and liquor list gets pretty long once you combine all three of these. There are some fruits that would go well in any type of wine, and probably some liquors that aren't entirely necessary (do I need the brandy? the triple sec?) or that would taste good in multiple recipes (peach schnapps?)

I know sangria is pretty forgiving, so I'm looking for a way to simplify and/or modify these recipes to use as few ingredients as possible. Any and all ideas are welcome, but I would be especially grateful for an answer that figures out a formula and shopping list for all three!

Muchísimas gracias, AskMe!
posted by a.steele to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I almost threw up in my mouth a little when I read the White Sangria Recipe. Please don't make that.

I'm going to read the other recipes and get back to you. What's your head count and what is your budget?

Also - what city are you in so we can recommend brands and stores. Thanks.

In general you want to use whole fruit, real sugar, real booze. That's what makes Sangria great! I'll get back to you in a moment...
posted by jbenben at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

Whenever I host anything, I fill a large drink dispenser with store bought sangria(the big jug of Carlo Rossi) and fill the fruit infuser with apples, oranges, lemons, limes, or strawberries. It's always a big hit.
posted by poppunkcat at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sorry! Clarifying details:

We're looking at around 60 guests (+/- 10) for a two-hour event. This isn't a super fancy fundraiser or anything, just a networking event for young professionals.

Budget is flexible but I'd definitely like to keep it under $100. Closer to $60 or so would be ideal. I'm not above using boxed wine and/or store bought sangria.

Location is Memphis, TN.
posted by a.steele at 12:44 PM on June 7, 2016

The beloved-by-all red sangria recipe I use every summer is this one. The site has several other variations you could try too - I trust this woman.
posted by xo at 12:47 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: seconding that the quoted White wine sangria recipe is terrible. Please don't use diet peach flavored iced tea in a sangria. The Red wine one is fine.

Sangria should be simple. Fresh fruit, a bit of hard liquor and drinkable wine. If you have access trader joes wine, their white wine boxes (3L) make an excellent sangria base. And it's very cheap- at about $12 for 3L.

Basic proportions in my household are:
1 bottle of wine, 2 cups fruit, sugar (or simple syrup) to taste (usually 3 big spoonfuls), 1/2 cup cognac or triple sec. (we're not picky about which liquor for the big batches). This holds for both red and white sangria, so that's your first cost savings.

you can switch it up with the fruits...
White wine sangria should be full of peaches, apricots and some sliced citrus.
Red wine sangria should be full of apples and citrus

I personally also like the option of having seltzer on the side to allow people to make it into a spritzer/not as strong.
posted by larthegreat at 12:50 PM on June 7, 2016 [12 favorites]

Depending on the type of crowd, providing a non-alcoholic one might be a nice touch.

On seeing your budget, it sounds like you need to stick to boxed wine and fruit juice with some fruit garnishes. I'd ballpark needing to serve 200 beverages.
posted by Candleman at 12:52 PM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

The first recipe, I assume, exists as a way to make sangria "lighter." IME sangria is tastier and lighter if it's simple: seltzer water or club soda, cheap dry wine, fresh or frozen fruit. It's not super boozy, which helps if you cut corners on food.

One of the best sangrias I've had was sparkling wine + vodka + raspberry juice + frozen raspberries. Highly recommend.
posted by witchen at 12:53 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Strawberry Sangria recipe is also wrong because it calls for vodka.

Classic sangria is wine + brandy + fizzy liquid + fruit juice + fruit + superfine sugar to balance the flavors - lots of ice.

Triple sec, liqueurs, schnapps - these are all forms of brandy, essentially. Concentrated flavor + high alcohol content.

- You can use lemon/lime soda for all the sangria's. Get large bottles.

- Fruit is usually Citrus + Other types.

Go with Oranges + Limes for all Sangrias. For Red = Diced Apple. For White = Chopped Plums, Peaches, and Nectarines. For Rose = Strawberries.

- Orange Juice is fine. You could also make a batch of concentrated Limeade from frozen concentrate, just be aware to cut back on the superfine sugar if you use Limeade Concentrate.

- I like Tequila in my Sangria. Orange liqueur that is not pricey Triple Sec is FINE. Brandy is fine. Fake tasting Peach Scnapps? No no no.

You could put the same Orange Brandy/Liqueur in all 3 Sangrias and that would be AWESOME + keep folks from getting too drunk. For a large event, aim at watering down the drinks. High flavor, low alcohol content should be your goal.

So, um.... I'll wait for updates before recommending quantities? In general, adapt this recipe with the flavor advice above....

1 Bottle Wine
1 Cup Liqueur or Brandy
1 Cup Juice
2 Cup Fizzy Soda (lemon/lime OK)
1 Cup Citrus Fruit Slices (Orange & Limes OK)
2 Cups Fruit

Stir and add sugar to taste. Add more Wine (half bottle?) and a splash of Brandy if it lacks "kick," but be aware you will underestimate the alcohol content because of the sweetness and fruit.
posted by jbenben at 1:05 PM on June 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

I'm only familiar with TJ's and BevMo these days - and you seem to have neither in Memphis.

You want to get all of these ingredients from a discount beverage center - grocery store is too pricey. Costco will have great deals on fruit. I think frozen fruit might be yucky? I know washing and slicing fruit sucks. I think you might have to sample the wine as you chop - I see know way around the task ;))

I'm just going to caution you again on alcohol content. Less not more hard liquor. Trust me.
posted by jbenben at 1:12 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just saw that witchen's favorite sangria has vodka. So I am obviously wrong on that point!

Catering rule is 3 servings per person, btw, so the ballpark of 200 drinks is spot-on.
posted by jbenben at 1:18 PM on June 7, 2016

Frozen fruit is fine, but do a pre-soak in the harder liquor (brandy, triple sec, etc), so that it tastes more infused, less watery. I'd leave them together at least overnight, preferably 24hrs.
posted by aimedwander at 1:20 PM on June 7, 2016

This is what they serve at Hispanic block parties: 70% El Toro wine / 30% Sprite. Super cheap and really good.
posted by xammerboy at 2:06 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

I totally use Franzia Chillable Red and Franzia Moscato for my bulk sangria. I generally go vodka, orange juice + berry for red (but see my caveats below); and then either amaretto, mango or peach nectar + apples/pears for white OR strawberry lemonade plus some related flavor of flavored vodka (or amaretto, I really like the almond flavor in it) for white because strawberry lemonade is delicious.

As much as I love strawberry flavor in my sangria, soaked or frozen berries turn weird and shaggy in sangria over time, and the fruit floats so much that it's awkward to refill or pour from a pitcher (but then if you use a bottom-spout dispenser you don't get any fruit). I am starting to think that my future sangrias might actually be made with fresh fruit puree or syrup with toothpick-kebabs of boozy fruit on the side.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:07 PM on June 7, 2016

Kalimotxo is not exactly sangria, but it's frickin great: 1 part box red wine to 1 part Coca-Cola. Serve over ice.
posted by rhizome at 2:17 PM on June 7, 2016

In Mexico, if you order sangria, you get a glass that's half lemon soda and half red wine (as in, literally half and half--somehow they get the wine to float on the soda) which is quite tasty. Add fruit as you like and don't overthink things...
posted by leahwrenn at 2:41 PM on June 7, 2016

You've gotten plenty of good recipe advice, but make sure the cups you provide are reasonably sized. Like small disposable wine glasses you'd get at a not too fancy baby shower, not solo cups or any kind of big rocks glass/disposable mug. You want these things to hold like 8-12oz, not 16-20.

With normal sized cups, people get HAMMERED. It doesn't matter if half the crowd is like 60+, people will be wasted. Everyone for some reason thinks sangria doesn't have much booze in it, even the "professionals". BUT, people will generally slow down if they get smaller servings. Because "two cups" is "two drinks", even if they're actually half the size the cups could be.

I've pulled this one with great success before when there was either punch or a self-service bar station. There's always 1-2 people who will get too drunk, but if you provide large cups it will be more like 10-15 out of 60 people, or worse. Because after all, 3 drinks per person is an average. Some are going to drink 1, some are going to drink 5. Small cups split up the number, but most people will still have like 3-4 small cups.

Also, double thumbs up to the seltzer idea for the same reasons.
posted by emptythought at 2:59 PM on June 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

(I meant to take the tequila reference out of my answer. Let's just say that if you add tequila + orange liqueur to any sangria almost 100% of your guests will end up smashed. A++ the advice to get smaller cups! People over-drink on yummy yummy sangria. )
posted by jbenben at 3:07 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

A dear friend and neighbour likes red wine; I'm not that much of a fan. She comes to visit regularly with a bottle, drinks two glasses, and leaves the rest here.

Thanks to this I found out that frozen fruit is freaking delightful in sangria. I just started dumping the dregs of her bottles into a massive jar in the freezer, adding some triple sec/brandy and whatever fruit was on hand as I went along, and when the jar is full we have sangria. We both swear that something about freezing the fruit in the mix made it macerate wonderfully. I know that's different from using frozen fruit in a sangria that's not going in the freezer, but, fruits like peach and pineapple and blueberry that are still nice to eat once thawed should work just fine.

Also, the Bacardi frozen strawberry daiquiri mixer is way better than strawberries in a red sangria, I think, than fresh strawberries when strawberries are not in season.

I'm in Canada so my access to cheap plonk is very poor -- wine starts at about $9 a bottle here; I've never had anything approaching a two-buck chuck -- but when I set out to make sangria I buy the cheapest box wine quite shamelessly; I wouldn't break the budget on a "good" wine. Tweak with nectars, fruit syrups, etc to get "nice."

(One more comment on that Weight Watchers sangriabomination: off one 750mL bottle of wine, "Serves: 12." Ha ha ha ha -- oh my sides -- no wonder the reviews are so positive; they must all be from people who've never enjoyed booze in their lives. Google says a 'serving' of wine is 150-180mL. Heh, heh. Sorry. But, if you are in a suburban location where odds are good there will be guests driving, you could always hack the recipe into something decent and label it as low-alcohol sangria -- the more I think about that, the more I think parties and events need something that is a drink, but just 1/3 of a drink, so designated driver sorts might be better looked after. 'Anything to drink tonight?' 'Three drinks, officer -- but it was a Weight Watchers sangria. Hand me that breathalyzer!')
posted by kmennie at 3:38 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Here's the white wine/peach sangria I make if I'm making white wine/peach sangria. Note that you can further stretch it by adding ginger ale.

If I'm putting a little more effort into it, I make the Cava sangria they serve at Jaleo (omg I miss Jaleo so much):  

1/2 cup Licor 43 (Quarante y Tres)
1/2 cup brandy
strawberries, sliced
peaches, cubed
1 cup white grape juice
1 750 ml bottle Cava sparkling wine
mint, for garnish

Mix together Licor 43, brandy, and fruit in serving pitcher and refrigerate for 1 hour. Add chilled juice and Cava. Serve chilled with mint for garnish.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 6:08 PM on June 7, 2016

For white wine sangria, I usually do the following for a crowd: 3 bottles of white wine, 1-2 two-liter bottles of lemon-lime soda or ginger ale, lots and lots of fresh fruit, and usually some triple sec to strengthen it back up a bit. Yes, it straddles the line between being a true sangria and a wine spritzer, but I mostly do that to keep my guests from getting totally smashed.
posted by PearlRose at 7:29 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you're looking to dilute the alcohol level of your sangria with something sweet like ginger ale/sprite etc, I highly recommend jamaica (hibiscus) or tamarind soda or drink mix (in packets like kool-aid, generally). If you have access to real agua fresca, see what's on offer there as well.

If you have access to a market that has a decent selection of Mexican sodas, Manzanita Sol is apple soda and my secret weapon for punch.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:59 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older How to prevent Norton pop up   |   How does a ceiling fall? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.