You’ve gotta love Spanish customs. In Spain la gente really know how to socialize, and the important things in any get-together are to have savory bites (tapas) to eat, heady cocktails to drink and congenial company to chat with — with an emphasis on the latter. Hence the custom to “tapear” — bar hop with your friends — is essential to the social culture of Spain, particularly in the south.

Bars are packed at night, so tapas are often eaten standing up or grouped around small tables. The atmosphere is jovial and noisy. In many bars you will see traditional cured hams hanging from the rafters. Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, Marcona almonds, cured olives and quince paste — these are culinary delicacies of Spain and they are staples of traditional tapas spread. Tapas recipes, however, move far beyond these one-ingredient wonders, incorporating other meats and seafoods including octopus, fish and shrimp.

Tapas recipes can be as complex or as simple as one’s palate desires. Here are 19 tapas recipes that you can make yourself.

Tapa means “lid,” and it’s believed that the tapas custom originated as a small plate that covered one’s cup, ostensibly to keep dust out of the drink. However, in modern parlance the word has come to mean “small plates” that are shared around, as opposed to the large plates of a formal sit-down dinner. In American parlance, you might say tapas are akin to appetizers.

Delicious nibbles, chilled sangria and the company of good friends. It’s a custom we could grow accustomed to. Just think of these 17 bite-size appetizers and 13 refreshing and fruity sangria recipes as tapas Americanas.

Got a a favorite appetizer to share? Tag us on Instagram @britandco.

(Photo via Getty)