Any veteran bruncher worth his or her salt knows thevalue of a tall goblet of cool sangria, bathed in the warm afternoon sun, fullof crunchy and melting bits of fruit, and stealthily potent in a way thatbelies its blushing winsomeness. This Spanish/Portuguese drink started withfruity infusions in red wine (the word sangria means bleeding in its languageof origin, probably denoting its rich scarlet hue), evolving over time intosome truly delicious versions involving white and rosé wines, too – not tomention a mind-boggling array of other flavours imbued into pitchers (andpitchers) of this summer cocktail.
Malaka Spice, for example,does four whole different versions of the sangria, of which two remain myabsolute favourite fixes for the heat. The chilled red wine sangria hereconsists of a ruby Cabernet Shiraz, in which half a red chilli is muddled for astunning undertone of spice, along with sweet pomegranate seeds and a splash ofcranberry juice for some added flush, lime juice and triple sec; the white winesangria truly captures summer in a flute, redolent with the flavours of mintleaves, soaked cucumber chunks, lime juice and demerara sugar in a crispSauvignon Blanc.
Similarly, Terttulia is superpopular for its special house sangria – rather a perfect foil to its breezilyMediterranean confines – but the melon sangria here is what really goes thatdelectable extra mile, as a cocktail of white wine, mint, peach, apple juiceand fresh, distinctively fragrant musk melon. 11 East Street Café swirls upan imaginative version of a blanca, bringing in the flavours of refreshinglitchi, sweet bananas and apples soaked in white wine, all served super chilledto the willing gourmand.
Dezio pulls off a similarfruity experiment, dosing their summer sangria with the heady combination ofsweet passion fruit and lemon, not to mention a version (in both red and white)with smoked cinnamon sticks, imparting simple but deep flavours and fragrance suchas nothing else. April Rain,on the other hand, serves its white wine watermelon sangria with a dash ofcognac and some slivers of blood orange and apple for some extrasweet-sourness.
But what is the fun in modern sangrias if not theinclusion of varied other spirits to complement the elegant libation? At Margarita Deck, for instance,the Mexican sangria is crafted in your choice of red or white wine and freshfruit, but also combined with a generous hit of tequila, in an ode to the themeof the restaurant. Similarly, the Greek specialty restaurant Euriska includes a giant splashof metaxa or brandywine in its solstice sangria, mixed and chilled with aChenin Blanc, cointreau, honey-water, apples and cucumbers.
And, the microbrewery Flambos Brewpub pulls off a coup of its own, serving aunique version of the sangria full of the hearty flavours of beer – yup, thatis right, there is no wine in this one, just an incredibly tasty, house-brewed Hefeweizen(wheat beer), the light flavours of which are superbly complemented by chunksof versatile fruit such as apples, oranges and watermelon.
Surprisingly, a beer-sangria combination is also found atThe Urban Foundry, but in aone-of-its-kind form – here, the guntur chilli michelada is a combination ofbubbly beer, white wine and tons of tiny sliced and alcohol-infused apples,swirled with a masaledaar guntur pepper paste dollop and served with alip-smacking salt-chilli rim. Their slightly more traditional red wine#Sangh-ria is also interesting with triple sec, orange, lime, ginger ale andthe unusual addition of some fresh strawberries.
Meanwhile, Frozen Monkey pulls off one of the more elusive rosé variants in itsshy monkey sangria, with a cold pink wine bolstered by the addition of triplesec, cranberry juice and tons of sweet-tart apple slivers. Similarly, The Little Door has a signatureBlushy Pink sangria, composed of rosé, triple sec, fragrant peach schnapps, abunch of exotic Mediterranean mandarins, some glittering gem-like pomegranateseeds and sweet lemonade. The fun watering hole also has a beautiful blanca with white wine, melon and theslightly pungent infusion of ginger ale.
Of all interesting versions of the liquid joy that issangria, High Spirits puts arather solid twist to it – the heady beverage is served here in the form of icelollies, made and served sporadically by the hip establishment in itsunofficial summer menu. For these, a base of white wine gets tiny bits oforange, pineapple, peach (or muskmelon) and grape infused into it, and issubsequently frozen for hours on sticks to form the popsicles/ice golas. Sinceyou have to slurp it up before it melts, this version of the sangriaundoubtedly provides one of the best kicks around.
P.S: Teetotalers may note that Tales & Spirits does one of the very rare non-alcoholicversions of this beautiful drink in town, worth a mention mainly because of thecreativity that is gone into it. The ‘virgin’ concoction here is amouthwatering mix of chilled black tea, pomegranate juice, OJ, a hit of limefor extra vitamin C, sugar, and chunks of fresh fruits such as apples andoranges.
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