Yum, Yum: Sangria in the City

If you’re like us, there are certain types of drinks that are enjoyed during weekend brunch. Sangria is one of them. While weekend brunching with girlfriends, a fruity sangria option often jumps off the menu as the thirst-quencher of choice, especially on a hot day. And since summer weather showed up a little earlier this year, our patio season and summery refreshment tour has been in full force since, well, March if we’re honest.

As the hunt continues, here are three establishments who have seemed to perfect the boozy punch:

Milagro (Three locations: 5 Mercer St., 3187 Yonge St. and 783 Queen W.)

Juicy and refreshing.

With a broad selection of sangria to please even the pickiest of taste buds, Milagro has six blends, including their ‘American’ blend that’ll put a little hair on your chest, complete with bourbon AND peach schnapps. Why not, huh? Summer suggestion: Sangria de Mango…in a pitcher. 

Psst: They have special deals on sangria on Thursdays. What better day to end the week than a delicious glass or two of this cocktail, for less?

Follow @Milagro_cantina on Twitter.
School (70 Fraser Ave.)

School sticks to the basics: red and white. I mean, sure, you could mix them if you want a rose. School creatively serves their wine concoction by glass and by flask. Suggestion: try both! Sangria white is slightly more innocent, combing pinot grigio with green grapes and apples, while the red is a little more daring, mixing rioja (Spanish wine) with orange and cinnamon. Again, enjoy them in a flask.

If you give their Sangria an A+, tell them @schoolville.
Café Nervosa (75 Yorkville Ave.)

Enjoy a frosty glass of sangria and keep an eye out for celebs on this beautiful patio.

This Yorkville spot comes up on a lot of people’s “fave” lists and yes, their pizza is fantastic. But they’ve mastered their sangria as well. When we’re feeling like some solid people-watching and enjoying the quiet buzz of Yorkville, this is our go-to spot. You feel rather posh sipping on their cute patio, and you never know when you might catch a glimpse of a Jonas brother at the table next to you. Their sangria is strong and fruity, with fruit juice as well as the regular wine and spirits.

Drake Hotel (1144 Queen St. W.)
Ok, so we might be a bit biased about this one, but we can’t help but love every cocktail that comes from the Drake’s skilled bar team. Their sangria lives up to their high standards, and the Sky Yard is one of the best spots in Toronto to enjoy a summer cocktail. They’ve got some other tasty concoctions this summer as well (Rum + Raspberry Lemonade, anyone?) but we often stop by after work for a relaxing glass of wine, fruit juice and fruit chunks, complete with art, indie rock and some eye candy.

As always, Drake offers a classic with a twist – the warm Simmering Sangria.
Image courtesy of the Drake Hotel.

Pssst: this past winter, Drake had simmering sangria – a warm version of their summer recipe. It was amazing. Here’s hoping they bring it back next winter!

Tell them you want them to bring back the Simmering Sangria – @thedrakehotel

Victory Cafe (581 Markham St.)

Another fourth floor fave that takes us back to our days of undergrad, but in a good way. They’ve got one of the best patios in the city as well, and in case we haven’t made it clear yet, sangria + patio = summer perfection. Their white sangria is delicious and won’t stain your summer whites should you happen to spill a drop or two.

White sangria on this patio is pretty much perfect.

Keep up with the latest Annex news @victorycafe_TO.

Happy drinking! 

City Living: Winter fun

Let’s be honest, most of us associate winter with hibernating indoors, making excuses for staying in on weekends, and generally being less adventurous and social than we would be the rest of the year. Yes, winter is cold and snowy, but this season, let’s embrace the snow and brave the cold. Here are a few ideas of winter-friendly activities in and outside of the city. 

Hot child in the city:

As the first and only official Christmas market in Toronto, this Distillery District market offers a variety of activities and entertainment for all ages. There’s great holiday shopping and treats, as well as a beer garden with mulled wine (very popular at European Christmas markets), hot rum beverages, European Christmas cocktails, schnapps and a variety of beer. The Lowes Toronto Christmas Market runs daily from December 2 through 18.

Hours: Monday to Friday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
We love grown up versions of our favourite childhood activities. When we heard that there would be a live DJ at the Natrel Skating Rink at Harbourfront every Saturday night this winter, we started rummaging through our closets for old skates and started planning our next date night. Every Saturday night has a different DJ and theme, ranging from Soca, to hip hop and R&B, to electro-swing.
Hours: Saturdays, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Who said patio season was over? Head over to Shack Chaud on Drake Sky Yard, sip on any one of their many amazing cocktails: Whiskey-a-CoCo, Winter Kentucky, Simmering Sangria and lots more. All while sitting by the fire and enjoying the novelty of being outside at a bar in the middle of winter. Yes, please.

Shack Chaud hours: Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m. to close. The Sky Yard is open nightly from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 6 p.m. to 2.a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Go north, young man:

Bring out your inner child with an afternoon of snow tubing. Great with friends or family, grab a tube, tow up the hill and fly down. Snow Valley in Barrie offers hourly rates or you can go per ride. Trust us, it’s just as much fun when you are an adult as when you were a kid.

Instead of sitting back and enjoying the ride, take the reins of a sled and learn how to become a dog musher. Singing Dogs in Wiarton (near Owen Sound) is a great for a day trip or an overnight adventure. Guests can bond with the pooches and learn how to run a team, taking turns as driver and dog handler. Seriously, how cool is that?

Snowshoeing is a great way to be active outdoors. It’s easy to learn, takes minimal equipment and is a killer work out. Located just outside of Collingwood, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures boasts 22 kilometers of trails through the forest. If you’re brave enough, you can also ‘shoe across the longest suspension bridge in Ontario. After your trek, enjoy a bowl of chilli or hot apple cider in their chalet.  

What are your favourite go-to winter activities? Tweet us #winteractivities.