Where to Drink Sangria in the Hudson Valley

Sangria fiesta: This traditional Spanish concoction is perfect for summer nights

Ah, summer. Who doesn’t enjoy soaking up the sun and sipping on chilled ice tea? This year, why not switch things up and substitute a more adult thirst-quencher — Sangria?

The name “Sangria” comes from the Spanish word “sangre,” which (charmingly) translates to “blood.” The most likely origin of this nomenclature points to the traditional version of the drink, which uses red wine as its base. But it’s those fresh fruit slices — apples, oranges, peaches, and various berries — that make Sangria refreshingly flavorful.

Sangria was first concocted on the Iberian Peninsula, and for the most part it stayed there for centuries, not reaching our shores until the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Since then, the punch’s popularity has skyrocketed, becoming a staple at Spanish and Latin-American restaurants throughout the U.S. “We actually put Sangria on the menu because people asked for it,” says Adolfo Godinez, Jr. of Zapata Mexican Restaurant in Palisades. “It’s a very big seller.”

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One contributing factor to this spike in popularity is Sangria’s natural versatility. It can be made using white or red wine, and fruits of all kinds can sweeten the taste without detracting from the drink’s essence. For those who want to make it themselves, the good news is that almost any wine will do. The best choices are lighter, younger reds, or fruity whites, though dry whites also work well, according to Rei Peraza, the chef/owner of Panzur in Tivoli. Once you have the base, Peraza suggests “kicking it up with something that’s a little higher proof, like a shot of rum or brandy, to give it more structure.

“More than anything, sangria is flexible, fun, and festive,” says Peraza. “At this time of year it’s one of those things that’s hard not to drink.” 

Satisfy Sangria cravings at:

Panzur Thursdays are sangria nights, with discounted prices on the red punch ($5 per glass, $16 per pitcher) and a full menu of tapas and small plates ($13-$17). “Grazing” — in which customers keep the menu and order several dishes throughout the night — is common. 69 Broadway, Tivoli; 845-757-1071 or www.panzur.com

Zapata Mexican Restaurant The red and white Sangria recipes change with the weather. Ever-present are oranges and apples, but pineapple and citrus are often added in the warmer months. Traditional Mexican fare dominates the menu, with fajitas and tacos garnering the most praise. 779 Rte. 340, Palisades; 845-359-8700 or www.zapatapalisades.com

La Puerta Azul Try the Sangria Margarita, a unique blend of two well-loved drinks. Or take a stab at making it yourself with the recipe at www.hvmag.com/Recipes. Pozole, ceviche, paella, and other Mexican specialties highlight the menu. 2510 Rte. 44, Millbrook; 845-677-2985 or www.lapuertaazul.com

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Casa del Sol Red and white Sangrias offer a hint of oranges, apples, and cantaloupe. In the summer, watermelon lends its flavor to the mix. Classic plates like quesedillas and enchiladas ($11-$19) are in constant demand. 104 Main St., Nyack; 845-353-9846 or www.casaofnyack.com

Or stop by these festivals:

Robibero Winery Savor Sangria blends mixed with Robibero wine and local fruits, participate in a Sangria sip-off, and enjoy live music. July 21-22. $15. 714 Albany Post Rd., New Paltz; 845-255-9463 or www.robiberofamilyvineyards.com

Benmarl Winery Tour the vineyards and cellars while tasting the wines blended into several Sangrias. Flamenco dancers perform to live music, and guests take home a souvenir wine glass. July 21-22, Aug. 18-19. $20. 156 Highland Ave., Marlboro; 845-236-4265 or www.benmarl.com

Hudson-Chatham Winery Flamenco guitarists entertain as guests sample five different types of Sangria, or attend the traditional wine tasting. You can browse among jewelry vendors and get a chair massage, too. Aug. 4. $5 per activity. 1900 Rte. 66, Ghent; 518-392-9463 or www.hudson-chathamwinery.com

» Go to Hudson Valley Restaurants & Dining Guide
» Go to Hudson Valley Food & Drink Guide

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