Beat the Texas heat with sangria

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Thirsty Thursday

August in Texas can be defined by a few things: trips to the river, anxiety about upcoming fall classes and, of course, 100-degree temperatures in the shade. To combat the onslaught of late summer heat and worries over starting that dreaded statistics course, sangria can be the easiest way to chill out. Made famous here in the Lone Star State because of its role in Jerry Jeff Walker’s drinking anthem “Sangria Wine,” sangria is kind of like a liquor gazpacho — you can make it with almost anything. Walker likes to use the age-old recipe of wine, apples, brandy, sugar, lemons and limes, and “in Texas on a Saturday night, Everclear gets added to the wine sometimes,” as Walker says in the song. But if you’re not quite ready to test your liver with Walker’s classic recipe, you might want to start with some of the delicious and less potent sangria at almost any drinking hole here in Austin.
Spider House Cafe
This is a favorite campus hangout and a great place for a cup of coffee. Spider House also has an array of alcoholic drinks, including its famous sangria. The recipe is a perfect combination of red wine and carbonated soda. Added to the mix is ice, blueberries, peaches and strawberries.
Spider House’s blend is refreshing and smooth without being overwhelmingly sweet. On a hot summer night, sangria is the perfect beverage to enjoy on Spider House’s large and eclectic patio.
The cafe serves its sangria in glass pitchers, or carafes. A full carafe will serve three people while half a carafe is good for one or two drinkers.
WHERE: 2908 Fruth St.
HOURS: 7-2 a.m. daily
ON THE WEB: spiderhousecafe.com
El Chilito
A taco stand on Manor Road seems like an unlikely place to find sangria. However, the taco joint offers delicious frozen sangria for dirt cheap. With strong flavors of cinnamon and tart red wine, El Chilito’s sangria pairs well with its selection of spicy tacos.
WHERE: 2219 Manor Rd.
HOURS: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
ON THE WEB: elchilito.com/home
House Pizzeria
Located near 51st Street and Airport Boulevard, House Pizzeria offers a variation on the classic red sangria by offering a white-wine alternative. Served by the pitcher, the beverage is made with Black Box white wine and topped off with orange and green-apple slices. By using white instead of red wine, House Pizzeria’s sangria is lighter and brings out the flavor of the fruit better. The serving size also makes it a great and affordable choice to share with friends.
WHERE: 5111 Airport Blvd.
HOURS: Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; closed Monday
ON THE WEB: housepizzeria.com