The beauty of sangria — a Spanish punch most commonly made with wine, fruit and brandy — is that anything goes. “There’s no master sangria recipe,” says Javier Candon, proprietor of Joselito near Eastern Market. “It was invented by taking red wine, opening your cabinet and seeing what liquors you had and putting whatever you wanted in.”
Although the refreshing beverage is traditionally made with red wine (the root of sangria is sangre, which means blood in Spanish, a nod to the drink’s ruddy color), there’s plenty of flexibility. Take, for example, the following restaurants that are using rosé in place of red wine. The results are a slightly more acidic base that bartenders are playing up with citrus and piquant fruit.
Wine director Kate Chrisman created a crisp sangria using rosé made from Tempranillo grapes, which lend it hints of ripe fruit ($8 per glass). To offset the sweetness and crank up the acidity, Chrisman adds Rock Town vodka, fresh lime and chunks of pineapple.
1940 11th St. NW, 202-332-9463, vinotecadc.com.
The bone-dry Protocolo rosé (made with Tempranillo and Bobal grapes), lends Tico’s rosé sangria hints of cherry, strawberry and limestone ($10 per glass, $40 per pitcher). It’s mixed with a black tea blend with notes of passion fruit and papaya. A splash of pisco adds a floral aftertaste. The concoction is marinated with Granny Smith apples for a touch of tartness and is served with fresh orange slices.
1926 14th St. NW, 202-319-1400, ticodc.com.
Guests in the know are privy to the off-menu rosé sangria ($9 per glass, $35 per liter). It’s made with rosé from Tempranillo grapes, triple sec, peach schnapps, citrus and sugar. Rather than using a typical water ice cube, the cube is made with hunks of frozen fruit so your drink gets more flavorful — not diluted — as you sip.
660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 202-930-6955, joselitodc.com.
At the heart of this sangria — which is prepared in batches and served on draft — is a rosé made from Tempranillo grapes, making it fruit-forward and dry ($10 per glass, $40 per porron). Vodka, elderflower liqueur and agave are added to the mix, which is macerated with litchis and citrus up to 48 hours before it’s served with a ruby red grapefruit garnish.
901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, 202-869-3300, arrozbymic.com.
Barcelona Wine Bar
Made with Liquid Geography rosé, Barcelona’s pink sangria has subtle notes of flowers and strawberry ($9 per glass, $52 per carafe). It’s mixed with elderflower liquor, soda and chunks of apples, oranges and pineapple. It’s served without a garnish, to keep things simple.
1622 14th St. NW, 202.588.5500; 3310 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-800-4100, barcelonawinebar.com.