Sunday, December 11, 2011

Celebrating the Season with Sangria and Tapas

I had a lovely dinner tonight. A gal pal wanted to organize a holiday get-together, so she scheduled a gathering at a local tapas restaurant for about two dozen people. From empanadas to croquettes and fried potatoes to paella, it was a wonderful feast with a fun group of friends. And of course, there were plenty of pitchers of sangria flowing. I love some Spanish wine and finger food, so it was the perfect meal. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly a low-calorie menu...but every now and then, you need to take one for the team. But for any others hankering for a glass of sangria - minus the calories - here are a few sugar-free Sangria recipes that have scored high grades at some of my parties in the past.

HG’s Sangria-Seltzer Twist
Hit up the bar for slices of orange, lemon, and lime. Give your favorite fruit wedges a little squeeze before dropping them into your glass. Add 1 oz. of liquor (rum or vodka is yummy) and top with calorie-free seltzer. If your party-throwers are winos, top your glass with a splash of red or blush wine. Now you’ve got a fancy, signature drink that only contains around 100 calories!

George Stella's Sangria
2 cups Burgundy wine
2 cups club soda or seltzer water
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
1 lemon, sliced into circles
1 lime, sliced into circles
1/4 cup diet Tang or any Crystal light fruit drink, optional
Mix all ingredients together in a punch bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, pour into glasses over ice.

And my own little Red Sangria concoction which includes:
1 Bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, etc.)
1 sliced orange
1 sliced apple
1 sliced lime
½ cup brandy
½ cup triple sec
2 cups diet ginger ale
Six packets of low-calorie sweetener

For white sangria, use the same ingredients but replace the red wine with a white such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, etc. Also consider adding peach, mango or kiwi to sweeten the recipe even further.

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