Anyone who is familiar with Spanish culture and cuisine will have heard of the country’s classic red wine cocktail, Sangria.
While it has been popularised and is now served in bars and restaurants across the world, the light fruity punch can be traced back to 200 BC, although it was first introduced to the world at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964.
The name comes from “sangre” which translates as “blood” due to its rich red colour.
Traditionally, the Spaniards used red wine from La Rioja, local brandy and common fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes and pears. Now, modern sangrias can also be made with white wine known as “Sangria Blanco”, and even cava, which is a Spanish sparkling wine.
While every restaurant has its own sangria recipe we sought out one of the best in Barcelona to find out their secret to the ultimate sangria.
Just a ten-minute stroll east from the northern most point of La Rambla, the epicentre of Barcelona’s city, down beautiful alleyways and past curious architecture, is Casa Lolea, a quaint, newly-opened tapas restaurant which is famous for its sangria menu.
It has five sangrias to choose from ranging from the traditional red wine based mixture, to others which are based on muscat, cava, grenache, and even rosé.
“The number one is our best,” said Joanna, the manager of Casa Lolea. “It’s the traditional one, as it is based on red wine.
“It is with cabernet sauvignon and merlot, orange juice and lemon juice and a little of bit of cinnamon.
“The ingredients are special to here,” she said.
“You can serve it with ice, or not with ice,” she said, adding that it depends on how potent you want it.
Drinking it was smooth, light and thirst-quenching. Despite the cool May weather, restaurants and stores are toasty warm-and with the rich food, heavy with meats and cheese, the sangria is a charming combination.
Unlike other sangrias which I have had in Australia, the fruits had been left to soak and then removed so that the sipping experience is undisturbed by chunky off cuts — this was much more desirable. So much so I had to try the rosé variation!
As a rosé drinker at home, this was a pleasant twist on an old favourite. It was more perfumed than the first but not overpowering. Aromatic and sweet.
Despite being new on the Barcelona foodie hit list, Casa Lolea has already made it onto food blogs and city guides for people looking for good sangria in Barcelona. It has also achieved 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor and is number 65 of 8,041 restaurants in the city.
*The author travelled to Barcelona as a guest of Atlassian.
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