VV | Wine Cube & Party Prep
Wine Cube by Trinchero Family Estates
St. Helena, Napa County, CA
Available at Target
“Apart from opening up a whole new world of wine for yourself, choosing the right wine for the right occasion can make the difference between a good time and a great time.” – Guide to Wine, Fiona Sims
I believe Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year! We get to see family and friends, have parties, indulge in treats, and share gifts with people. We also are reminded of the birth of Christ. What a joyful, peaceful, mysterious, beautiful holiday. I love Christmas and everything surrounding it.
After Thanksgiving, I couldn’t wait any longer to host a holiday gathering, so I started planning for a celebration with benefits: JEWELRY party!! I had some of my girlfriends over last Thursday for a Silpada party. Admittedly, I put a lot more time into the food and wine than the jewelry.
I pondered over ideas as the date grew closer. Would I like to have a theme, like Christmas cookies, Bailey’s and cocoa, mulled wine and candy canes? Or Mexican: margaritas, chips and salsa and mini-tacos? Maybe I should have beer and salty snacks, and invite men to come and do some Christmas shopping for their girls.
I decided against a theme party…way too much hassle, and would men ever come to a jewelry party? Nope. So what to do? In my experience, simple and sophisticated always works. Wine, cheese, chocolate. 3 out of 4 favorite things! Add jewelry and I am in heaven.
With memories of my best friend Laura pounding on all sides of my brain, I brought two boxes of Target’s “Wine Cube” brand wine for the party.
“Yes, my skeptical friend!” says the author. (Refer to my first EDR blog to see the truth on boxed wine!)
Moving on: one red sangria, one Pinot grigio, and a few bottles of cheap bubbly were selected from Target’s delicious display. My dear friend Kate was there to help me out. We thought two sweet wines would be more well-received than one sweet and one dry–dry wine should be served more carefully, with a meal or appetizer that matches well and brings out flavors. For a browse-and-graze party, simply sweet is best.
The verdict? The party was a blast and the wines were wonderful choices…however, I had to use some creativity on the red sangria.
I tasted it before guests arrived and thought it to be boring. Nothing special. I would gladly drink it with dinner or with friends…not a total loss…but it wouldn’t be one I would purchase again. I sipped on my sample glass and remembered the glorious sangria made by my friend Kara in the summer…fruity, tangy, pungent, fragrant. Addicting. What could I do to help this sangria-in-a-box to be more like…Kara’s?
Well, Kara had used red wine…and what else…apricot something, and triple sec, and sliced fruit. WAIT…*open freezer*…THE APRICOT BRANDY IS STILL THERE! AND SO IS THE TRIPLE SEC! I nearly screamed with joy as I squirted the sangria into a glass pitcher and topped it with a half cup each of triple sec and brandy. (Kara: I owe you!) There were no orange slices in sight, but I threw in fresh strawberries and blueberries, which each chose her own way, whether sinking or floating. And a taste…aaaahhhhhhh. Add a chill in the fridge for two hours, and it was MUCH improved. Sweet, but with an authentic ripe taste (thanks to the brandy) after a swallow. A little more kick from the triple sec, and a glorious scent from the fresh berries. It was also beautiful to look at, poured in stemless glasses with an extra strawberry for a garnish.
My guests were extremely pleased…asked me where I got the wine, even…and I was proud of my first Silpada party. I do have leftovers, however. The sangria is still here, in its glass pitcher. Want to come over and share with me?!
Until next time: Cheers and Happy Holiday glass-tipping to you! Love, Betsy
Vino Vednesday is vritten by our Team Wine-o Betsy. Her column appears ever Vednesday right here on Eat.Drink.Repeat.