Spicy Red Sangria at Soleil Mediterranean Grille & Wine Bar
Fall is my favorite season. I love the warm, sunny days and the cool, crisp nights, the quintessential autumn-in-Colorado experience of experiencing all four seasons — heat, cold, rain, snow — in one day. But most of all, I love Indian summer, when I can sit on one of my favorite patios around town, enjoying a cocktail or two and imagining that winter will never come. I've always been particularly fond of the patio at Soleil, and my ardor for the place increased when I recently discovered the Spicy Red Sangria ($7/$3 happy hour), a red sangria that I like almost as much as the white served at Cucina Colore. Having spent a semester at the Universidad de Salamanca, where I suffered through Spanish-speaking professors teaching over a microphone and an impressive amount of sangria "research," I am fairly knowledgeable about sangria. It's as varied as the inhabitants of Spain, but the key to any great-tasting sangria, as many Spaniards told me, is that the wine cannot be too fine, or you weaken the vivacity of the drink. I also believe that a proper Spanish sangria should come in a pitcher with a wooden spoon that looks like it has about ten years of sangria-stirring history. Though Soleil's Spicy Sangria presentation lacks both the pitcher and the spoon, it has the requisite René Barbier Mediterranean Red Wine, spiced rum (not homemade, but a secret brand), Triple Sec, orange juice and Sprite, and is seasoned with cinnamon, chile, cayenne pepper and peppercorns. As a result, it's the sangria equivalent of a chile-infused margarita, with both spicy and sweet striking the tastebuds at the same time. So before winter and the big snowstorms strike, enjoy the spicy sweetness of fall at Soleil.
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