Sangria is much more than the sum of its parts. Layer wine with booze and fruit, and suddenly a kind of alchemy happens. Flavors meld, ingredients mingle, and whatever is poured into that pitcher just tastes better. These bars channel Spain by way of pink bottles, French presses and colonists’ penchant for port. If you’re thinking of merely uncorking a white, red or rosé this season and pouring it into your glass naked, reconsider and try a little macerated mixology instead.
Can't make it to any of the bars serving these great Sangrias? Try making the French Press Sangria from this list at home.
French Press Sangria (Bleu Bohème, San Diego)
Rather than using a French press to coax out flavor from coffee beans, bartender Jasmine Jernberg layers batches of a mixture of red and white wine, Grand Marnier, rum, cognac, agave syrup, raspberry purée and an orange, lemon and lime into one. It’s all pressed tableside and served on the rocks with an orange slice. “This preparation really brings out the brightness of the fruit and blends it into the drink beautifully,” she says. “It’s a mainstay on our patio during social hour because it’s thirst-quenching and easy to drink yet still packs enough of a punch to take the edge off a long hot day.”
Sangría de Lujo Cava (Jaleo, Disney Springs, Orlando)
This Sangria mixes fresh fruits with premium ingredients and lets it rest for almost 12 hours. Mixed tableside, the blend of gin, brandy, citrus juices and peels, mint and bay leaves, juniper berries and spices including clove and black pepper is topped with a bottle of either cava or red wine. “It’s super refreshing and pairs perfectly with almost all tapas, because it opens your appetite and invites you to drink another glass,” says sommelier Jordi Paronella.
Biltmore Sangaree (Mintwood Place, Washington, D.C.)
The name of this drink is the archaic English spelling of Spanish Sangria. “[It] makes tart and refreshing use of fortified wines, harking back to colonial days when all of them were staples of the aristocratic drinking diet,” says bar manager Matthew Wilcox. “It’s named after our end-of-the-block street, a contrast to how far the spirits traveled to be enjoyed.” He shakes ruby port with cognac, orange, lime and lemon juices, vanilla cordial and water with ice, serves it over fresh ice and garnishes it with grated nutmeg and orange.
Spicy Sangria (Telefèric Barcelona, Multiple Locations)
Inspired by the fusion of the Old World and the New World, this is just one of several variants of the wine-based bevvy at the pintxos and tapas lounges located in Barcelona, Miami and California’s Walnut Creek and Palo Alto. This one has verdejo white wine from Rueda, elderflower liqueur, lime and cranberry juices, triple sec and serrano pepper vodka, garnished with cilantro sprigs, edible flowers and citrus fruits. “This daring Sangria gives a cool, herbal and citrusy sensation while teasing your tongue with just the right amount of heat perfect for spicing up a summer party,” says bar manager Renato Brignardello.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
White Sangria (Marshall’s Landing, Chicago)
“Sangria brings people together,” says server Carl Redding. “When the days are longer in summer, there’s more time to spend enjoying a drink or a meal with family and friends.” This pink potable takes rosé from Oregon’s A to Z Wineworks along with riesling, chardonnay, apple vodka, simple syrup, oranges, blueberries and raspberries, served in a wine glass over ice garnished with diced green apples, oranges, raspberries and blueberries. “It’s the happiest drink on the menu!”
Pancho’s Sangria (Pancho’s, Las Vegas)
General manager Adam Lawrence says the staff was stirred to create this sip as a fruity and light way to stave off the oppressive Las Vegas desert heat. Not only does it do the trick, but the garnish is a showstopper. Peach schnapps is mixed with brandy, peach and mango purées, fresh pineapple and orange juices, and Burgundy wine and topped with a splash of soda water. It’s adorned with a cherry and lime and orange wedges, as well as whatever other seasonal fruits happen to be available.