Nothing spells out summer quite like a patio seat, sunlight, and a cool glass of sangria. The name of this refreshing beverage comes from its rich-red colour: the Spanish word sangre means blood. Sangria-style drinks date back over 2,000 years ago, when Romans added wine to their water to fortify it against bacteria — with flavourful herbs and spices mixed in to mask the poor-tasting wine. Fortunately this drink evolved to include better wine, fruit, an extra kick of alcohol (such as brandy), and sometimes soda water to brighten it up. With so many unique concoctions, do as the Romans and allow sangria to become your lifeblood for summer at one of these relaxing spots serving a unique twist on the conventional Spanish drink.
Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen
Special for the summer time, this Alberta institution is serving white sangria with chardonnay, orange and lemon juice, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, and dry curaçao.
9802 Jasper Ave. | 780-760-0062
The Cava-style sangria here — with a sparkling white wine, tequila blanco, Cointreau, and fresh lime — pairs perfectly with Rostizado’s juicy, slow-roasted meats.
#102, 10359-104 St. | 780-761-0911
This convivial pub serves a classic take on sangria, combining red wine, orange juice, citrus fruit, and Triple Sec. If you come early enough, you can snag a spot on one of the city’s most coveted patios.
10922- 88 Ave. | 780-433-8369
Central Social Hall
Sip the traditional robust red sangria served over seasonal berries, or their white variety that tastes of citrus, pears, and lychee fruit. Stop by on Saturdays and Sundays to take advantage of their glasses on special for $5.
10909 Jasper Ave. | 780-705-1900
Take your pick of either the tropical Red Guava Sangria or fruity White Mango Sangria at this Mexican hot spot. Be sure to visit on Sunday when pitchers are only $20.
8230 Gateway Blvd. | 780-760-0200
Q&A with Sami Elber, former bartender at Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen
What ingredients do you think are integral to good sangria?
Proper “ice ice baby”. At the Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen we use a beautiful KOLD-DRAFT ice machine. KOLD-DRAFT ice cubes are denser than conventional ones, thus they won’t dilute the drink as quickly.
What inspired you to create your recipe?
I wanted to make sangria that was well balanced and irresistible, the kind of sangria that’d make you call in to work to get your shift covered. Elderflower is one of the flavour profiles that we’re hardwired to love. I used orange liqueurs with orange and lemon juices to really make the citrus flavour notes pop!
What tips can you offer someone who wants to experiment with their own recipe?
Take an existing recipe, taste it, then fix it to your liking. Then find five to six people who don’t know each other, have them taste it, and use their responses to form your bell curve, so to speak. You are bound to have the outliers (people who only like sweet or bitter, etc.). Trust that somewhere between you and the outliers rests the perfect drink. Rinse; repeat.