It's a steamy summer evening, and with an exhausting week at its end, you're positively yearning for a drink. Right? And preferably something cool and refreshing. While an ice-cold brewski or chilled cocktail will do, a glass of the quintessential summer drink sounds even better.
That's right. We're talking sangria. Even if you don't have a drop of Spanish sangre in your veins, it won't much matter. A visit to any of these sangria-specialty establishments will have you singing "La Vida Loca" in no time.
12. Old Key Lime House
300 E. Ocean Ave., Lantana. Call 561-582-1889, or visit oldkeylimehouse.com.
Here, a word of advice. If there is one thing all should know about a wine cocktail, it's that — red or white — sangria is an easy-to-down drink that will literally knock you out. At the Old Key Lime House in Lantana, the final ingredient in their pitchers of sangria is a dash of sparkling wine just before serving, and the resulting infusion is refreshingly easy on the palate, which explains why you'll find it so difficult to keep track of exactly how many times you've returned for a refill. And — like any good punch — this one goes straight to your head. Be careful, and don't say we didn't warn you.
11. Himmarshsee Public House
201 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-616-5275, or visit publichouseftl.com.
What's better than a chilled glass of sangria? The Smoking sangria like the one you'll find at Himmarshee Public House in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The new summer recipe for the bar's red sangria launched a few weeks ago, and includes fresh-muddled fruits like blueberry and orange mixed with a potent blend of red wine, Torres orange liqueur, peach nectar, and a final hit of liquid nitrogen for a refreshingly chilled summer concoction.
10. Mario's Catalina Restaurant
1611 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-563-4141, or visit catalinarestaurant.net.
Step into Mario’s Catalina Restaurant and you'll instantly feel transported to a more tropical setting — one with good food and even better drinks. The crowd here is lively; tropical flavors redolent of garlic, grilled onion, and pepper are designed to snap you out of any stupor This longtime South Florida Mexican restaurant has always had a solid cocktail menu, too. There's a variety of frozen drinks, including homemade frozen lemonade, strawberry lemonade, and potent mojitos. Equally strong: the red and white sangria, made in-house.
9. The Brewhouse Gallery (Tacos Don Pepé)
720 Park Ave., Lake Park. Call 561-469-8930, or visit BrewhouseGallery.com.
Brewhouse Gallery in Lake Park may be best known as a local artists' gallery and craft beer bar with a number of rotating craft beers on tap. But this quaint sleeper spot in northern Palm Beach County has more than just good brews and amazing art. They also have a back bar where you can order up a number of Mexican-style eats, a sort of in-house pop-up shop dubbed Tacos Don Pepé. The menu features guacamole and chips, quesadillas, tacos, and — of course — sangria. The flavors rotate just like the beer, but on a recent weekend included a red infused with strawberry or green apple and pomegranate (pictured here), as well as a white with either guava, peach, mango, or a strawberry and kiwi. Each is potent and smooth, served in a pint glass with ice.
8. Patio Tapas and Beer
205 SE First St., Boca Raton. Call 561-419-7239, patiotapasandbeer.com.
Sangria is a warm weather drink, that's for sure. But a few glasses come midday or early afternoon may be enough to knock you out for the rest of the day. That might be why this quaint new eatery set behind Federal Highway in Boca Raton decided to offer a sangria with Red Bull added to the mix — as a way to keep patrons awake, and enjoying their back patio on those hot and humid days. The tiny establishment makes its own sangria in-house, the old fashioned way, and has become one of the best spots in Palm Beach County to grab a glass of the ultimate summer sipper.
7. The Taco Spot
1500 N. Broadwalk Blvd., Hollywood. Call 954-921-7711, or visit thetacospothollywood.com.
The Hollywood Beach Broadwalk is many things. It's great for people-watching and rollerblading, for example. And — of course — our favorite: eating and drinking. But with an expansive strip offering one establishment after another, it's not too long before you start to notice a few Greek menus and ice cream shops filing past. For a place loaded with soft serve spots, the 2-year-old Taco Spot presents a different option for tourists and locals. Go for the view, the atmosphere, and the drinks. It's a casual spot where patrons amble up the front stairs from the beach, disappearing into the quaint interior only to reappear seconds later with a giant coconuts and pineapples filled with tropic cocktails. Of course, the red sangria served in a giant glass enough for two people to share is where it's at, garnished with a pineapple and orange wedge.
6. Hudson at Waterway East
900 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-303-1343, or visit hudsondelray.com.
At Hudson at Waterway East in Delray Beach, the sangria is actually referred to as "sungria" made with Jimador tequila, grapefruit, agave, lime juice, and topped with prosecco. That makes this sangria the perfect refreshing summertime cocktail to enjoy amid Hudson’s waterfront bliss. Stop by during the restaurant's social hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., when glasses of sangria are just $6 each.
5. Rock Bar
601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-533-1568, or visit rockbarftl.com.
Nothing says summer fun quite like alfresco dining by the beach, and touristy oversized like the ones you'll find at Rock Bar. Located off the oceanfront strip in Fort Lauderdale, here you can order up giant plastic glasses filled with your favorite beverage, including a surprisingly tasty red sangria. Grab an outdoor patio seat and do some people watching while you're drinking. During happy hour the drinks are $27 two-for-one. It's not quite a steal, but if you're looking for a pitcher's worth of sangria for yourself, this is the place to put a few back.
525 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-368-4705, or visit coladahouse.com.
Colada, the new Cuban-inspired eatery at in Fort Lauderdale, is best-known for its Cuban coffees. Once you've had your caffeine fix, however, you might want to head back one during happy hour when they begin pouring specials on craft beer, their potent homemade mojitos, and house made sangria. The staff mix and keg it every few days, and pour it off the tap system. That ensures a strong — and well balanced drink — every time. Thursday and Friday enjoy happy and ladies night, when a glass is just $4 for ladies (guys can get craft beer and tapas snacks priced at $5).
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3. Candela Restaurant
2909 NE Sixth Ave., Wilton Manors. Call 954-563-8088, or visit candelarestaurant.com.
In Spain, food has a different meaning. It's both fuel and fun, consumed and enjoyed in a series of small, snack-like bites throughout the day. This all begins with a family meal, meat from a whole pig's leg sliced onto bread for a portable breakfast. As the workday rolls to a halt, you quiet a growling belly with a quick stop at the local tasca, the working man's tavern, where tiny pintxos, tapas, and montaditos are washed down with wine or beer. Later, you'll stroll home to enjoy the final meal of the day, a late-night feast and a few more glasses of wine shared with friends and family that can stretch long past midnight. That's the type of experience you'll get at Candela Restaurant in Wilton Manors, where the sangria by the glass is made true to the original Spanish ways. By the end of your meal, don't expect to leave without blushing cheeks from a few too many sips.
2. El Camino
15 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach. Call 561-865-5350, or visit elcaminodelray.com.
Summer in South Florida equals heat. Humid, oppressive, hallucination-inducing heat. With the dog days of summer just a few short weeks away, you might find yourself wanting something more than the average chilled drink. Instead of a watered-down cocktail, why not go for one blended with ice — just the thing you need to chill out when the temperature is pushing triple digits. The only downfall: most frozen drinks are weak, boring, and sugary-sweet. Certainly that's not the type of imbibing you're envisioning to save you from Florida's humid heat waves. Which is where El Camino in Delray Beach comes into play. The restaurant bar recently launched a number of creative frozen concoctions as part of its summer drink menu and according to restaurant partner and beverage manager Brian Albe, these frozen drinks aren't just cool — they're the real deal. That includes the frozen sangria, which uses the same recipe as their Grapes of Wrath red sangria made with tequila.
1. Havana Hideout
509 Lake Ave., Lake Worth. Call 561-585-8444, or visit havanahideout.com.
There is quite possibly no better place in South Florida to find sangria than Havana Hideout, the tiki-shack like drinking spot off the main drag of bars and restaurants in downtown Lake Worth. The recipes are a well-guarded secret, and no wonder. There are so many flavors to choose from that you might just have to ask for a few samples to help decide which one you like best — as if that's even possible. If you're thirsty, the bar will serve pitchers for $18, but the real deal can be found during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. when each 12-ounce glass goes for $4.50 (otherwise $6 each). Here, mixing is encouraged — with your sangria, that is. You can pair any Havana's four flavors — right now traditional red, jalapeno peach, white habanero tropical papaya personal favorite, summer peach — The best part: nothing gets old. The flavors rotate weekly and include old standbys like triple-berry basil, strawberry, mango, or passion fruit.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.