When it comes to holiday party planning, one of the things I look to do is make things as simple as I can once the party starts so that I can enjoy my guests and not have to spend the time mixing drinks, preparing food, etc.  That means that I often look for drinks that I can pour into punch bowls or pitchers so that guests can help themselves.  As such, I often serve Sangria.

People usually associate Sangria with warm weather, and I agree it does make a refreshing drink in summer, but its adaptability really makes it suited to any season or any occasion. Be sure to pick a lighter, fruitier red wine for the base of this drink; a Merlot, American Pinto Noir, or Beaujolais would all make good choices.

Holiday Sangria
makes 10-12 drinks

3 cups Cranberry Juice
1 bottle (750 ml) Red Wine (Merlot)
1 cup Pomegranate juice
1 cup cranberries + more for garnish
1 orange, sliced + more for garnish
1 lemon sliced + more for garnish
¼ cup sugar
2 oz Orange Liquor
1 cup Brandy
2 cups Club Soda
2 sprigs Rosemary

The night before serving lightly crush the cranberries, orange and lemon slices. Add the wine and sugar and allow to macerate overnight. The next day, lightly bruise rosemary in bottom of a large pitcher or punch bowl. Strain the wine, pressing on fruit. Add remaining ingredients. Garnish with more lemon and orange slices, whole cranberries and sprigs of rosemary.
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