BEST SANGRIA Phoenix 2005 - Havana Cafe
We never tire of visiting the various Havana Cafes owned and operated by B.J. and Gilbert Hernandez. This year, we recognize them for their sangria, that fruity, blood-red Spanish libation that elsewhere can seem so drab and bland, but at Havana Cafe is terribly refreshing and bursting with flavor. Three-quarters of the chilled drink is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet, and the other quarter is a mixture of freshly squeezed fruit -- lemons, limes and oranges -- spices such as cinnamon and whole cloves introduced via a spice bag, and a splash of 7UP. Served over ice with fresh apples, there's nothing like it on a warm evening, trickling down your throat like a cool stream. My, but we suddenly feel parched. Perhaps we should run right over there for a pitcher or two. Adios!