I am having a good friend over for a late afternoon dinner. We both enjoy red wines, so I thought I would make sangria, which seems more appropriate in the summer. However, I don’t have a well-stocked bar. What would be an expensive, yet tasteful, way to make sangria for two?
You can make sangria as expensive as you’d like, but I don’t know how much of the expense will show through if you spend the money on red wine. Don’t buy rotgut, but two bottles of something in the $15-$20 range would be more than enough for what you need. I’d spend more money on the fixings. Shell out for a small (375 ml) bottle of Grand Marnier, which should run you about $20, and a decent bottle of champagne as well (which will cost as much as you want it to — you can buy a split, if you want to get an even higher-end brand for your money.) Pour both of the bottles of wine, 3/4 cup of the Grand Marnier, and about half of the bottle of champagne into a pitcher. Add up to a pint of some nice organic fruit juice — maybe some peach nectar — and you should have a pretty high-class batch of sangria. Serve the sangria on ice in a pint/pilsner glass with a straw.
If you really want to improve the sangria, and you have a couple of days, I’d buy some fruit to steep in the wine for a couple of days. I usually buy some citrus (either a lemon or a lime), something summery (a pineapple and/or a canteloupe), and maybe a peach. Cut the citrus into thin slices, the larger fruit into one-inch cubes, and anything else into eighths. Combine the wine with the fruit in a covered pitcher or bowl, and let it steep for up to a week in the fridge; when you’re ready to serve it, add the rest of the ingredients as described above and you’re all set. The citrus makes a nice garnish/float for either your individual glasses or the pitcher you use to serve the sangria; whether you want to eat the rest of the wine-soaked fruit or not is up to you and your friend.