Whether planning a birthday, going away party or any other social event, deciding on a theme can cause the longest delay. People who have had the good fortune of jet setting to Mallorca, Ibiza or Costa Brava already understand the logic behind throwing a Spanish-themed pool function. But for the people who need convincing because they've never been these tips can keep the theme consistent, creative and authentic for pool parties across the country from San Diego to Dallas.
Jamon Serrano is one of those 'if you have to ask then you'll never know" ordeals in Spain. Ham is quite literally the cream of their crop as it's One of the country's main exports, according to ICEX, the Spanish Institute for foreign trade. Serrano is an affordable cut without compromising quality. It's not uncommon to have access to a "jamon y queso bocadillo" right on the beach. The more celebrity-driven spots throughout the islands of Barcelona serve up these sandwiches ocean side. Manchego cheese and baguettes of all styles compliment the nutty ham to make an affordable and accurate snack for a day in the sun. Dice up, blanch and fry some potatoes and top them with aioli and tomato sauce to accompany the bocadillos. This side, referred to as "patatas bravas" is a crowd pleaser and usually consumed as a standalone dish throughout Spain.
Many Spanish chefs don't like to waste food but they also deeply appreciate the simplicity of enjoying each ingredient for what it truly is. It's very common to put a drizzle honey or olive oil over the baguette before laying it with fresh anchovies, cheeses, mushrooms and other accompaniments.
When in Spain
It wouldn't be a Spanish party if there wasn't sangria. The affordable and low maintenance cocktail can be made from just about anything. There's no need to purchase fancy Bordeaux to dump into sangria where wine is a quantity over quality ingredient. Tequila, vodka, rum, brandy and other liquor that the party-thrower may want to expend can be added to the mixture. Generally four bottles of liquor per 4 gallons of wine will yield a well balanced yet bold party drink. The creation is usually complete with a garnish of diced up apples and oranges. It's easy, fun and can be made hours before guests arrive so that the hosts don't have to miss any mingling to shake the cocktails.
Tapas bars are famous for serving little nibbles of food with a small beer that's called a "caña," pronounced "khan-yah". In the summertime, many people also enjoy shandys, which is basically a fancy spin off of a beer. Served in a beer glass, the drink typically consists of any light and easy going brew and a quarter glass of lemonade. Springs of mint and a splash of ginger beer can add a hint of flare without overwhelming the flavors.
To come full circle on the bar menu options, a liquor cocktail is needed. Gin and tonic is essentially the national drink of Spain, according to Los Angeles Magazine. The simple and refreshing glass of juniper flavors and carbonation are taken seriously there. It's usually served in a goblet with a two-to-one gin-to-tonic ratio and decorated with big and beautiful slices of lime and lemon.
While it's simply not logical to have a running of the bulls during your backyard party, there are plenty of ways to get guests up and active, for example a dip in the pool. However, make sure all swimmers are supervised and don't let anyone in the water who's been drinking.