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For most of us, the Memorial Day weekend is the official kickoff event for welcoming summer. And whether you're planning a family get-together, a gathering of close friends, or a neighborhood bash, it’s a great time to get creative with the drinks that you're serving by throwing a theme party.
Here are five possibilities to get you thinking.
1. Stage a Who-Makes-the-Best-Sangria Party
Sangria is a universal party drink that connects all generations — an eclectic blend of wine, sparkling water or soda, fruits and fruit juices, and a slug or two of booze served over ice. The possibilities are as limitless as a Master Card commercial, so have each guest or guest couple create their own version to bring to the party. Then have a taste-off and crown the winner with a show of raised glasses.
Click here for the Basic Sangria recipe.
2. Celebrate with Local Wines
Every state has at least one local winery — whether the wine is made with grapes or with other fruits such as apples (across the northeast) or pineapples (Hawaii) — so choose a good selection of wineries and styles if you have several vineyards in your area. Most regions produce sweet and dry wines, and often sparkling wine, so make sure you have options for everyone.
3. Sparkle with Bubbles-Only Cocktails
For a more upscale get-together, have cocktails made only with Champagne or other sparkling wines, such as cava from Spain (try Freixenet brut) or an American sparkling wine (Gruet from New Mexico is yummy and widely available). For starters, you can whip up mimosas (bubbly and orange juice), bellinis (with pear juice), and kir royales (a few drops of crème de cassis). If you want to be more creative, raid the liqueur cabinet for other flavors, adding just a few drops added to each glass of sparkling — strawberry, ginger, butterscotch, even mocha.
Click here for the Champagne Cocktail recipe.