In a town brimming with craft breweries, it can be difficult to crave another beverage. But summer in Nebraska is notorious for heat that can make you beg for something fruity and chilled. Something sweet but potent.
Enter the world of sangria. It’s not just for ladies who lunch.
To drink sangria means to taste a bit of European history. This mix of red Bordeaux and either brandy or fruit juice has been drank from Spain to Sicily for hundreds of years. Introduced to the United States in 1964 at the World’s Fair, it quickly had a following. From easy to drink red wine, to lollipop sweet rieslings, there is no shortage of ways to vary up your daily serving of fruit.
Omaha has plenty of places to satisfy your craving for this refreshing beverage. A great place to find sangria is at Espana in Benson. A tapas restaurant known for small plates with big flavor, Espana serves its sangria by the pitcher. “We marinate our sangria for 10 days before we serve it,” said owner Carlos Mendez. “We let a combination of liquor, triple sec, brandy and fruit sit, then add the wine and let the flavors combine.” Espana offers both red and a sweet, refreshing white sangria. “People love to drink it to celebrate and have a good time,” said Mendez. “The way we serve it is quite popular because it pairs perfectly with our food. Even though it is typically a summery beverage, people can enjoy it year round.” Omahaans and world travelers alike love to come to Espana for its specialty beverage.
A little further east, Cantina Loredo has a few options. For those that are tired of the basic red wine and fruit combo, Cantina Loredo offers three choices of sangria to enjoy on their patio: Pineapple Spice, White Honey and Blood Orange. Perfect for the adventurous palate, these sangrias include moscato, Ginger and Honey Liqueurs, Riesling, club soda, pineapple and kicks of jalapeño and citrus.
By this point, you may need to hop the bus to downtown, where you can even enjoy sangria with sushi. Blue Sushi in the Old Market has a deliriously delicious version of white sangria. “Our sangria is a combination of a few things,” said bartender Adam Nobles. “We start with a few slices of orange, lime and lemon and muddle them together, to draw out the flavors and give the clear cocktail visual appeal. We then add black cherry rum, a little triple sec, moscato and touch of soda to make it fizzy and refreshing.” As a five year veteran at Blue, you can trust Nobles to make you the perfect sangria for a hot Omaha evening.
With the number of impressive bars and restaurants in this town, there is no shortage of places to find this dangerously delectable drink. Other noble mentions include Dante’s, Lo Sole Mio, Bonefish Grill and Brix. However, with a few choice ingredients, you can even make the drink at home.
“I love to make my own version,” said Lindsey Clements, craft beverage representative with Arbella Distribution. “I look for an inexpensive dry red wine, and add brandy and triple sec. For the fruit, you can definitely play around with what you like, but I stick with citrus and fresh or frozen red berries. I will let it sit for at least an hour, but the longer the better.”
The next time you are feeling in need of a refreshing beverage, or that you need an extra dose of Vitamin C, consider ordering a glass of sangria. With its easy to love sweetness and drinkability, you may never go back to beer.
At least for the summer.
Restaurant, Tapas Bar, Paella, Sangria
6064 Maple St.
Omaha, NE 68104
120 S. 31st Ave. Suite 5107
Omaha, NE 68131
Blue Sushi Sake Grill
416 S. 12th St.
Omaha, NE 68102