There are few more rewarding and fun ways to toast the long-awaited springtime than by hosting a back- yard barbecue or having the neighbors over for an evening of noshing and catching-up. Avoid creating chaos in the kitchen by whipping up a few cocktails and snacks before everyone arrives.
One table might have a margarita theme, with pitchers of margaritas already made and ready to serve. Set out chips, salsa and guacamole and your guests’ first stop will be a self-contained conversation-starter.
At another spot nearby, set out two pitchers of sangria in different colors and with different ingredients — all made and ready to pour.
Follow these recipes, store them in the refrigerator overnight, and when everyone arrives, your only responsibility will be to unveil your sparkling personality.
Makes 1 pitcher
1 container frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
3 cups water
3 cups real pomegranate juice
1-2 cups tequila Lime wedges for garnish
Pour the limeade concentrate, water, and pomegranate juice into a pitcher, stir well to combine, cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve, simply whisk to thoroughly combine, add the tequila, and offer lime wedges to garnish each glass.
Sparkling Peach Sangria
Makes 12 – 15 servings
The following sangria recipe is even better when it’s made ahead. Pitchers typically hold either 48 or 60 ounces, so buy two to three bottles of sparkling wine so that you can make one pitcher of sangria, with leftover wine giving you the ability to whip up last- minute extras.
2-3 bottles of dry sparkling wine
4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced, plus two more for garnish
Pour one bottle of sparkling wine into your pitcher. Add the four peaches. Cover well and refrigerate until ready to use. When you are ready to serve, stir, and then top up with fresh sparkling wine and serve with a bowl of additional fresh slices of peaches.
Makes 12 – 15 servings
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 bottles rosé wine
Mash the raspberries in a bowl with a masher and then scoop them into a pitcher. Top-up the pitcher with rosé wine, keeping any extra wine corked and in the refrigerator to use the next day. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate overnight until ready to serve. The slight sweetness of these sangrias calls for salty snacks to serve with them. This is delicious and simple to make.
Prosciutto Wrapped Melon
Makes 12 servings
6 slices prosciutto
12 2-inch cubes of melon (cantaloupe or honeydew)
Cut each slice of prosciutto in half to make a total of 12 slices. Wrap each slice around a cube of melon, secure with a toothpick, and enjoy.