Considering the sweet taste, fruit chunks, and social acceptance to drink wine through a straw, Sangria is essentially alcohol for our inner child.
With so many ways for bartenders to make this sugary beverage their own -- with selections of wine, fruit, sweeteners, liquor, and more -- we hardly could be pressed to pick just one favorite in metro Phoenix.
So we're naming 10.
There are a lot of reasons to stop by Gallo Blanco in the afternoon: happy hour tacos, all-day breakfast, and a lesser-known favorite, Gallo's La Sangria. With white wine, peach liqueur, and fruits including oranges, pears, and grapes, the sangria at Gallo Blanco is the ideal patio drink for a hot day (or any day).
The whiskey sangria at Carly's Bistro packs a serious punch, making other sangrias seem as though they have the alcohol content of a Welch's juice box. This red wine and whiskey concoction delivers double the
trouble joy with generous proportions and potency. So though nearly 10 dollars seems a lot for a cocktail on Roosevelt Row, just remember that you're really getting two (probably three) drinks out of it.
The red sangria at Rita's easily is one of the sweetest on this list, though that hardly stops us from ordering a whole pitcher of it, making it last from dinner-side beverage to drinkable dessert. For its special cocktail blend, Rita's combines red wine, orange juice, cinnamon, and strong hints of vanilla.
The white sangria at Chelsea's falls on the lighter side, but we're not complaining. Most sangrias tend to hit the sweeter end of the cocktail menu, so it's refreshing to find one that reaches a compromise in both sugar and alcohol content. With this sangria, drinkers have the opportunity to sip and order seconds without fear of the consequential head- or toothache.
There are many reasons to love the sangria at Crescent Ballroom. The $5 price tag is a good start, complemented by the the red wine, juice purée, effervescent soda, and maraschino cherry in top. It's essentially the Shirley Temple that adults have been waiting for and at a price they're willing to pay.
There are a couple of sangrias to choose from at Hotel Palomar's Lustre Rooftop Garden, including the El Tovar with pinot noir, allspice dram, rum, grapes, and nutmeg. But our personal favorite is the San Xavier, made with Viognier, Galliano, lemon juice, and orange flower water. The mixing process for this sangria starts well before guests even arrive, so that by the time they're sipping it poolside, the flavors are as well-balanced as they are well-blended.
The Saguaro Hotel's Distrito has two signatures sangrias. The first is the sangria blanco with white wine, tequila, and peach brandy. It's light, crisp, and perfect for a truly hot day in Scottsdale. The sangria roja, however, is better suited for Arizona "winter," with red wine, tequila, blackberry brandy and spices that make us think of the holidays. Honestly we'd be hard pressed to tell you our favorite, which is why it's best to order both and tell the bartender you're waiting for a friend (you're not).
The sangria at Phoenix Public Market Cafe is refreshingly simple with seasonal fruit (we tried it with fresh strawberries), red wine, brandy, and orange juice. This less-is-more style of sangria lets the ingredients speak for themselves without being overwhelming. This clear cut cocktail pairs best with Public Market's lunch, happy hour, and our personal favorite, brunch.
The handcrafted sangria at The Gladly is as pleasing to the taste buds as it is to the eyes. The talk drink takes on an ombre coloring thanks to the layers of fresh fruit syrups over brandy, schnapps, red wine, and ice. It's not too strong, not too sweet, and easily the aesthetic cake at the table.
The sangria at The Herb Box at SouthBridge is a little hard to find, having moved off of the cocktail menu and onto the wine list, but don't let that deter you. This tall glass of sugar, spice, and everything nice is made to order with apricot brandy, peach schnapps, oranges, lemon, lime, then topped with a maraschino cherry and a generous amount of cinnamon.
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