By Frank Sabatini Jr. / Photo by Kristina Yamamoto
The pint-size servings of red sangria at Raglan Public House sparkle like a señorita clad in scarlet flamenco ruffles, but the recipe travels far outside of Spain.
After researching numerous renditions of the fruity wine drink, which the Spaniards introduced to American taste buds at the 1964 World's Fair in New York, bar manager Kyle Jaworski perfected a formula that blends New Zealand pinot noir with hard cider from Julian. In the absence of a full liquor license, the challenge was skirting around the brandy that traditionally gets tossed in.
"There were missteps before we started rolling with it," Jaworski says. "It was either too much wine or too sweet. I learned that making sangria can go real bad, real quick."
Jaworski eventually scored unanimous approval from friends and neighbors over an invigorating mouth coolant recipe that includes judicious measures of orange juice and 7-Up, plus titillating pinches of ground allspice and cinnamon. Customers preferring a temporary retreat from Raglan's stouts and lagers have since expressed their affection for the proprietary blend, too, as Jaworski now stirs up five-gallon batches three times a week.
Served in beer mugs with apples, oranges and ice, the sangria sells for $6.50 a pint and half that during happy hours (3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday).
Offering a New Zealand-inspired menu akin to those of their popular Bare Back Grill locations in Pacific Beach and downtown, owners P.J. Lamont and Matt Baker opened Raglan in Ocean Beach in February. The "bare lil lamb" burger with mint dressing and blue cheese remains a must-try inside their latest digs, adorned with a surf-break mural and tables crafted from wood pallets. As ocean breezes waft through the retractable doors from only a block away, Jaworski's fruit-embellished sangria washes it all down so easy.
Raglan Public House
1851 Bacon St., Ocean Beach