Can you feel your summer getting more exciting yet?
1. Sangria: The Classic: Some people might want to get all technical and say that sangria is technically more of a punch than a cocktail, but frankly, we'd rather spend our time mixing up a batch than arguing the point. There must be a million versions of the story explaining where and when the first batch of this wine-y, boozy, fruity beverage was invented (and by what manner of highly enterprising - not to mention wildly talented - mixologist), but pretty much everyone agrees on the basic principles.
A great pitcher of sangria traditionally starts with a young, light-bodied and fruity red wine, to which a mixture of chopped or sliced citrus or other fruits, brandy and/or fruit juices are added. Nowadays, though, there are almost as many ways to make sangria as there are styles of wine: Some of the greatest versions feature white, rosé or even sparkling wines and just about any combination of fruit and liquor imaginable. This weekend, mix up a delightful batch of whatever combo tickles your fancy or check out a few of our favorite sangria spots: Cafe Brazil or Tastes Wine Bar & Bistro.
2. Calimocho: The Dark Horse: We're not too proud to admit the complete and utter disdain we felt when first hearing about this cocktail, which originated in Spain but has a version in just about every Eastern European /multiple South American countries. In fact, the amount of curiosity we felt about the idea of consuming a beverage consisting of equal parts red wine and Coca-Cola was exactly zero. Our skepticism only increased after hearing that the drink originated with some scurrilous barkeep in an effort to mask the taste of sour or inferior wine by dousing it with a few ounces of cola. But after discovering that the humble calimocho had turned up on a slew of 2010's top cocktail trend lists, we reconsidered. We're glad we did, because it features a highball glass filled halfway with the always-tasty Protocolo Tinto ($7), a Spanish tempranillo, and a little less than half a can of the aforementioned Coke. So. Freakin'. Good.
3. New Age Tinto Rosé: The Summer Sexy: If rosé is the ultimate summer wine, then consider the tinto (or tincho, as it's called in Argentina), the summer wine cocktail mas último. This glassful of goodness was created by the third-generation owner of Bodega Valentin Bianchi, one of Argentina's oldest wineries, by adding several wedges of lemon to a tumbler full of ice (gasp!) and the winery's slightly espumosa New Age White, a blend of sauvignon blanc and malvasia. The drink quickly became all the rage in South American bars and clubs, where the version we recently got turned on to (featuring the rosé version of new age -- a cuveé of malbec and merlot) is insanely popular.
This drink must be tried to be believed, after which point you will become immediately addicted. Somehow the acidity of the lemon simultaneously brightens the already super-quaffable rosé and enlivens its bubbles, while the slightly fruity-sweet flavors of the wine course around your palate. If you think we're exaggerating, just try it. The only catch? Excessive consumption of this cocktail will occur without warning. Get hooked on the kick-ass version of the tinto rosé they're pouring at Viejo Domingo, the new Argentine restaurant located in Highland.
Cafe Brazil, 4408 Lowell Boulevard
Tastes Wine Bar, 1033 East 17th Avenue and 4267 Tennyson Street
Viejo Domingo, 3555 West 38th Avenue