Warming weather means two things in Minnesota: heading to the lake and happy hour on patio season are upon us. With a winter/spring like the one we’ve had, we all deserve a reason to celebrate the sunshine and what better drink to sip on a warm summer day than a fruity, chilled sangria? Sangria usually consists of wine, chopped-up fruit and a splash of brandy, but some of these restaurants bring their sangria drinks to the next level. Here are some bars and restaurants to check out this summer.
Rojo Mexican Grill
1602 W. End Blvd.
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
This restaurant sits proudly at the West End in St. Louis Park on one of its anchoring corners. On a warm summer day, you’ll find that the windows are open so the breeze flows throughout the bar and restaurant. The Rojo sangria features your choice of red or white wine, fresh fruit and a splash of soda (for a zip of bubbles). The drink ($9) is featured on the cocktail menu, but if you find yourself in St. Louis Park around happy hour, be sure to hit up Rojo Mexican Grill where your choice of red or white sangria is only $6. The sangria comes in a large glass, so one of the menu items (ahem… the avocado egg roll) might be in order to soak up some of the fruity wine drink.
1070 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Masa is a perfect destination for a date night in the city. It’s located in the heart of downtown on the Nicollet Mall and offers a nice-sized menu of mexican fare and drinks. Masa has a couple of sangrias to choose from, so try one or if you’re feeling bold, try them all. For a refreshing take on the traditional sangria, try the sangria espumosa ($9.50). It features sparkling wine, orange liqueur, grapefruit zest and fresh-squeezed lemon juice to top it off. It’s a very light and fresh tasting drink. Another option from the tasty treats is the sangria blanca ($9). This sangria is made with tequila rather than brandy, Argentinian white wine, fresh raspberries and a bit of lime juice for a fruitier flavor.
900 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Solera is a popular destination for the theater, dinner and date night crowds and it’s a great place to enjoy the great MN outdoors on the rooftop deck. Solera’s menu features tapas and seven different sangria cocktails. If you’re feeling fruity, but fresh, try the S&M ($9). It’s flavored with strawberries and mint. Or if you are more in the mood for something a little more traditional, try the Solera signature ($12).
Fuji-Ya Sushi Restaurant
465 Wabasha St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Fuji-Ya, the cheeky restaurant that has locations in downtown St. Paul and in uptown in Minneapolis, features lunch, dinner and happy hour menus, all of which have a sangria drink masquerading under a different name. Try the Fuji cooler ($7). It is Fuji-Ya’s Japanese version of a sangria. The Fuji cooler features plum wine, red wine, soda and seven and is sure to cool you down and warm you up all at the same time in the dead of summer.
El Nuevo Rodeo Restaurant
2709 E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
El Nuevo Rodeo Restaurant is located near Uptown in Minneapolis on East Lake Street. The menu at this Latin eatery features lots to choose from, but one drink standout is the sangria ($6.75). It has all of the ingredients of the traditional wine and fruit drink, and it makes the list of a great sangria that’s also easy on the wallet. The sangria here goes down smooth and sweet and to accompany this libation, one might order up a plate of fish tacos, quesadillas or cactus salad.
Amber Ranzau lives on the edge of Uptown in Minneapolis and is a gal about town. She frequents the local restaurant scene, loves to support new and local businesses, follows the latest and greatest fashion and design trends, and she does all of this while working as an interior designer, spending time with her man, The Specialist, and taking care of her two goldfish Felix and Petunia and their tankmate Huey the Snail. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.