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Friday, July 27, 2012

Drink of the Week: Sangria at Poquito

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM

LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante

Some develop their drink-making skills by reading old books, watching bartenders, or learning from friends. Others get their training by doing hard time.

This was the case for Richard Vila of Poquito in the Dogpatch, the distinctive restaurant and bar that serves traditional Spanish and Ecuadorian tapas and great cocktails. The training and techniques for the flavorful and faintly sweet red sangria ($5/glass or $18/pitcher, tempranillo wine, brandy, citrus, seasonal fruit) and white sangria ($6/glass or $21/pitcher, torrontés wine, cachaça, citrus, seasonal fruit) came from spending summers with family in Spain. As punishment for causing mischief, he would be given the tedious task of helping his aunt in the kitchen. "Her favorite (and my least favorite) thing to have me do was to cut fruit [into tiny pieces] for sangria," explained Vila.

Making the daily batches of sangria is a four-hour process, so clearly Vila's experience paid off. The white sangria is fresh and bright, with lots of complementary pear and fruit flavors, without being sweet and cloying. The Ecuadorian llapingachos (jah-ping-gachos), little seared discs of mashed potato stuffed with cheese and green onion, were the perfect snack with the white sangria and a bridge between the two culinary cultures.

The red version tastes more of dark berries and citrus, making it the perfect pairing with the chorizo sliders ($7 for two, vegetarian soyrizo version also available and quite good). "There are a number of places that make it on the spot by adding sugar, juices, and I've even seen Sprite, but we do it the way I learned how to make it as a kid in Spain (sounds odd, I know), and sangria is just one of those things you can't speed up," said Vila.

Poquito, 2368 Third St. (at 20th St.), 643-3900

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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