Sangria is kind of the liquid equivalent to macaroni and cheese. Any recipe has the same base ingredients, but the modifications make the recipe better. And no matter what modifications are made, the finished product is something that is hard to complain about. From the standard to the spicy, Orange County restaurants offer a wide variety of refreshing sangrias for those hot summer days. Here are some of the best places for sangria in our fair county.
Chapter One: The Modern Local
227 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
One of the reasons to drink sangria is that it is refreshing, especially on summer days. If you’re looking for something truly refreshing, check out the red sangria here. Instead of the usual apples and oranges, this recipe includes crushed strawberries. To set this recipe apart even further, it also contains El Dorado rum (aged eight years) and hibiscus syrup. In other words, this is a sangria to try even if you think the best sangria is at your house.
2930 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
When you sit down at the bar in Habana, you see a container of red sangria at one end and and a container of white sangria at the other end. The red contains spiced rum, triple sec, red apples and oranges. The sweetness of the orange is what hits first. It is balanced by the slight bitterness of the spiced rum. This is a dry but refreshing drink. If you go to Habana during those hot summer days, the sangria is the perfect beverage for you.
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13792 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92670
The white sangria at Taco Rosa is about as refreshing a beverage as you will find. It is made with pinot grigio, pieces of watermelon and cantaloupe, melon liqueur and Grand Marnier. It is not overwhelmingly sweet and it is pretty light. That in itself would be a pretty good recipe, but a serrano chili is also added to the mix. It provides a slightly spicy quality that enhances the sweetness of the wine and fruit. The sangria here is mixed in a carafe, so make sure you have someone to share it with.
Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen
110 W. Birch St., Suite 7
Brea, CA 92821
The recipe at Cha Cha’s is not tremendously modified, but it shows that there’s a reason some things become standards. The orange liqueur and fresh tropical fruits provide a sweetness that is not too much. The fresh citrus provides a tartness to counter the sweetness of the orange liqueur and fruit. You can easily drink a lot of this. The real good news, however, is that Cha Cha’s sangria is half price on Wednesday nights.
Tapas Flavors of Spain
4253 Martingale Way
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Tapas is the place to go if you want sangria from a standard recipe. The sangria here contains red wine, fresh fruit, juice and sugar. The extras here come from the atmosphere. If you go to Tapas on a Friday or Saturday night, you can enjoy your sangria while you take in a flamenco show. After the flamenco show, you can stay for some salsa dancing lessons. Sangria and salsa dancing sounds like a spicy evening.
Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.