Having a foolproof holiday sangria recipe in my arsenal has changed my hosting game. Come one, come all!!
Gone are the days when, as a newlywed, I thought parties were for complicated recipes and fussy, planned out menus.
Nope. Bye, Felicia!
Now I basically have one rule for food when hosting parties – can I make it ahead of time?
A few weeks ago I hosted a Christmas party in our tiny home.There is literally no room for anything but simple in this quaint home. I planned the party to start AFTER dinner time so I only needed to provide drinks and snacks and my friends brought the most yummy cookies and chocolates!
The game plan:
1. A Crowd Pleasing Appetizer
Baked Fontina! The morning of the party I cubed my fontina cheese, sliced the veggies and set them aside until the party started. This dish is perfect because you can throw it into the oven as guests arrive. And it is a crowd pleaser every time!
2. Something Wrapped in Bacon 🙂
Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Fries. A few hours before guests arrived I sliced up the sweet potatoes and wrapped them in bacon. I put these little gifts on a sheet pan and set it in the refrigerator. 40 minutes before guests arrived, all I had to do was throw them in the oven!
I call them the disappearing treat.
3. Always Room for Nog
Two days before the party I made homemade eggnog. Right before guests arrived I set-up an egg nog station complete with rum, mugs and cinnamon sticks.
I also make a spa water one day ahead of time. Pour filtered water into a pitcher and add frozen strawberries and a few sprigs of fresh mint. It’s so refreshing and pretends to be fancy (but it’s so easy)! It’s perfect to keep your guests hydrated or for anyone who prefers to drink water. I love using this pitcher for spa water because the water gets perfectly infused without having the berries and mint clog up the pouring spout! It also looks so pretty on the table!
(Have Amazon Prime? Click here to order this pitcher in time for your party!)
The star of the show?! My holiday sangria recipe. This is fool-proof. And festive! And you can make a big batch so serving drinks to your guests is so easy. I always make this for Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties.
It can also be made up to three days in advance – it gets better with time!
5. Holiday Sangria Recipe
I already have a sangria recipe that I LOVE. So I just took that recipe and made it extra festive with a spiced honey syrup. This honey syrup is about to make all your drinks cozy for the cold months.
When a recipe calls for simple syrup – I make honey syrup because I rarely have white sugar on hand. Honey syrup never disappoints and it is healthier than white sugar. The important thing is to get honey that has a mild taste – like clover honey.
We make this the way we make simple syrup. Equal parts water and equal parts honey. I make a jar full to carry us through to warm weather. Add 1 cup clover honey to 1 cup water and simmer on the stove until incorporated (about 5 minutes).
Now to make it holiday ready – remove the simple syrup from the heart and add 2 cinnamon sticks, 6-8 whole cloves and 2-3 strips orange peel. Cover and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes. This will allow the spices to infuse our simple syrup.
Once cooled – strain the syrup and pour into a mason jar. This will last for one month!
You can use this for the holiday sangria but you can also use it for your tea, coffee, mixed drinks (like an Old Fashioned – it is perfect), or to spice up your egg nog. Anything really!
Also, this sangria can be so cost effective!
You never want to use expensive wine for sangrias. I usually buy cheap, fruity red wines that are only $5/bottle at Trader Joe’s for sangria.
But, I recently started using BOXED WINE. Over the past few years boxed wine has been making a name for itself. Winning awards and changing the game. The Bota Box red blend is tasty. And I purchased it for only $15. That’s 3 bottles of wine! (This is not an ad – I really do love Bota Box.)
My next favorite thing about this sangria? It gifts really well! I divide it up into mason jars to hand out to neighbors, friends, family…
It’s the perfect little gift to pair with my book, Come & Eat. Right now on Amazon it is under $12. This book is filled with 21 weeknight meal recipes that are grain-free and paleo optional. A perfect gift for the home cook or anyone wanting to gather more people to their table in the upcoming year!
Now we are party, or gift, ready! Simple, make ahead dishes and drinks so you can be with your people! Holiday Sangria recipe below. xoxo