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Sangria, the Spanish version of wine punch, is summer’s favorite excuse to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather. Traditional sangrias include wine, brandy and fresh fruit, but there is a lot of room for creativity with liquors and spirits. Whether you are looking for a tapas bar, a Mexican restaurant or a fine dining experience, Denver offers great choices for sangria.
1610 Raven St.
Denver, CO 80202
Small plates, tapas and sangria are made for each other. Richard Sandoval’s Al Lado has all three in a perfect rustic Spanish setting. Al Lado has five sangrias on the menu that combine a bounty of fresh fruit, flavored brandies, spirits and wine. The traditional vino tinto sangria is made with shiraz wine, a blend of fruits including mango, orange, lemon, lime and apples, blackberry and traditional brandy and orange liquor. During happy hour, vino tinto is a bargain at $5. Other sangrias include a vino blanco with white wine, passion fruit, orange, peaches, apples, apricot brandy, peach schnapps and orange liquor. Other sangrias include a hibiscus and habanero and tequila, a sparkling berry cava with fresh strawberries and blueberries and a Mexican reposado sangria, which is a muddle of tequila, Real brand sangria and sour mix.
1575 Boulder St.
Within just minutes at Lola, you can transport yourself from the center of the country to a Mexican beach. The food, the vibe and the drinks are like a plane ticket south. Lola has a standby sangria that never disappoints. The sangria rojo includes a light red wine, topped off with fruit juice, brandy, soda and fresh fruit. It’s bubbly, light an hits the spot on a hot Denver day.
1431 Larimer St.
It’s no surprise that one of Denver’s finest restaurants for Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and a stellar wine list would also have a notable selection of sangrias. Two of Rioja’s classic cocktails include a Rioja sangria blanca and a traditional red wine sangria. The blanca is white wine, marinated seasonal fruit and peach liquor, while the classic is red wine with crème de cassis, brandy and seasonal fruit. For a bit of bubbly on a summer day, try the cherry blossom with cava, Leopold Brother’s tart cherry liqueur, elderflower, mint and citrus from lemon and lime.
1808 Blake St.
Denver, CO 80202
The 9th Door exudes elegance and Spanish charm, just what a small plate tapas bar should be – friendly and warm with a touch of European class. The 9th Door has two traditional sangrias, red and white, by the glass or pitcher. It also has a not-often-seen Spanish favorite, tinto de verano. This is the Spanish version of a wine-shandy, with red wine and orange Fanta over ice (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it on a hot summer day). During happy hour, sangria is a bargain at $4 a glass or $12 for a carafe, and the tapas are top notch for half price.
721 Confidence Drive, Unit 1
Longmont, CO 80503
Comida is coming to Denver, which means amazing tacos, margaritas and sangria. Comida’s first location in Longmont and the hope is to open a second in the hip new food court, The Source in north Denver. Comida’s sangria offers your choice of red or white wine and tequila with a fruity concoction of pineapple, orange, lemon, lime and a bit of sugar.
Related: Top Mediterranean Cuisine in Denver
Kimberly Lord Stewart is a food author and journalist for CBS Denver local, Organic Food Reporter for Examiner.com, and the Food, Wine and Spirits editor for Denver Life magazine. Her book, “Eating Between the Lines” tells readers about the truth and myths of food labeling. Stewart is the recipient of two Association of Food Journalist awards for food news reporting and the Jessie Neal Business Journalism award. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.