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Summer Sangria: Top 5 Places for Spanish Sangria in DC

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A glass of white sangria from Bodega in Georgetown.

It’s a hot summer day and you’re craving something other than beer?  Why not opt for a refreshing glass of sangria instead!  In honor of Spain’s win of The World Cup, I decided to go on a journey for the best sangria experiences in D.C.

First, I went to the most obvious downtown location, La Tasca (722 7th Street, NW).  At around $24 a pitcher and $6.25 a glass, you can have any sangria of preference.  If you like your sangria tinta, their traditional sangria blended with triple sec orange liquor, brandy and fresh apple and orange slices will tickle your fancy.  If you prefer blanca, the cava sangria is a refreshing mix of triple sec, brandy, grape juice, blueberries and a splash of sparkling wine for a more bubbly taste.  With 5 locations stopping for a small tapas plate and sangria is very convenient.

My next stop brought me to the heart of Georgetown, at Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge (3116 M Street, NW).  I had often walked by this restaurant while shopping on M Street, but had never gone in.  I’m so glad that I did!  The energy alone in this lounge was enough to have me hooked.  It’s a cozy, small place, but don’t let it fool you.  There is a hidden gem in the back, The Matador Room, with a second bar.  Unlike most sangrias with mainly apple cubes, the white sangria had a unique mix of fresh strawberries and peaches. With house red sangria at $16 a pitcher and $4 a glass, and white sangria for $20 per pitcher and $5 by the glass, the price matches the ambiance…amazing!

My third stop was off the beaten path at a little place called Bambule (5225 Wisconsin Avenue, NW) in the Friendship Heights/Chevy Chase area.  I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh fruit, which was sweet with a bit of crunch.  As the sangria soaks, it’s easy for the fruit to become mushy.  That was not the case here.  With red and white burgundy, triple sec, orange juice and sprite, the flavor was smooth with just a hint of carbonation.  Regular pricing is $7 per glass and $28 per pitcher, but they offer happy hour specials Monday-Friday from 4-7pm for half price sangria pitchers!

A pitcher of red sangria from Bambule on Wisconsin Avenue.

During the course of my journey, I heard of a new Spanish inspired restaurant’s grand opening called Estadio (1520 14th Street, NW).  So I grabbed my drinking zapatos (that means “shoes” in Spanish) and hiked to the corner of 14th and Church Streets, NW.  I walked into a bustling and dimly lit restaurant, with the bar as the main and center attraction.  I posted up to the bar and ordered a glass of red sangria, along with a few pintxos by recommendation of the bartender.  A “pintxo” is basically a snack on a toothpick, traditional in northern Spain.  As I’m enjoying the flavors of the cheese, olive and pepper on a toothpick unite in my mouth, my sangria arrives.  The red sangria called the “Niftyfeet” with red wine and a touch of lime and mint leaves was very tasty.  However, at $11 a glass and no pitchers offered, I think I was more impressed by the pintxos.  Still, a great find for authentic sangria and an energetic atmosphere.

Last, but certainly not least, I stopped at a well-known hot spot Jaleo (480 7th Street, NW); the Spanish tapas restaurant of famed chef and restaurant owner José Andrés.  The cava sangria is a mix of freixenet blanc de blancs sparkling wine and two brandies.  The tinto, or red sangria, is a tantalizing mix of vodka, port wine, orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and cinnamon.  At $7 a glass, a half pitcher for $15 and a full pitcher for $28 for tinto sangria, and cava sangria for $18 half pitcher and $34 for a full pitcher, the price is comparable considering the size of the pitcher…and did I mention delicious!?

My work here is done, and so now I summon you all to go out and celebrate like the Spaniards this weekend!  Grab a few amigos, your drinking zapatos and decide for yourselves who has the best sangria.  I’m sure Spain residents will be celebrating similarly until the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014.  Salud!