Drink This Cocktail: Fall Sangria

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Alicia from Tuffet on sangria, whiskey and going to dive bars with your girlfriends.


286 Graham Ave, Brooklyn

What are we drinking?
Fall sangria. There's a little bite to it — it's a good marriage between sweet and spicy.

Is Tuffet a big spot for dates?
It is. We've got a lot of candlelight, a lot of deuces…

A lot of small tables. And we do have a party room, so we have larger events; but during the weekdays it's a lot of dates.

Can you usually tell when someone's on a date?
Oh yeah, we get a lot of blind dates. Who knows, maybe a lot of Nerve dates. You can usually tell if someone's on a blind date right when they get in here. There's that introduction: "Hi…" You know. People don't recognize each other, there’s that awkward moment..

What kind of drink would you recommend someone order on a blind date?
The fall sangria is actually pretty good, because you can seem like you're being good and you're just having a sangria but it actually has a lot of booze. So if you want to get over your nerves quickly this is a good way to cut to the chase. A couple of these will really put you in the mood.

Have you had any couples that got a too in the mood?
Yes, we've interrupted a couple of dates that have, ah, gone a little too well.

Anything you want to share?
Just that we don't recommend it. There's a limit that should be acknowledged. It's nice that people can say they met here; they went on their first date here, but you're in a public place. Although we did have a couple get married here, actually. Very romantic. We had it in our backyard.

Have you seen any dates go wrong?
Sure, sometimes things don't go well. We do have one regular who comes in a lot, and it's always with a different girl. But they're all really gorgeous, so I guess things can't be going that badly.

What kind of a drink would you recommend a guy buy a pretty girl in a bar?
I would think a nice glass of wine. Maybe the most expensive glass. That would be something she'd recognize that says he has some good taste. And it also says he's not trying to get into her pants. It's a little subtler. Or maybe a good shot of whiskey — that's my drink of choice.

What should I order if I want to impress a pretty bartender?
[Laughs] Something simple, I  think. Nothing too complicated. The best quality you can have is being open to new things, so listen to the bartender's suggestions. Just know what you want or be open to suggestions. I like people who don't pretend to know all the answers.

So you said this is a big date place. What about the after-date? Where do you go then?
There are plenty of dive bars in this area, but those aren't places to go if you want to get to know somebody. Those are the after-hours, hookup kind of places. You go out with your girlfriends with the assumption that someone might be hooking up tonight.

Fall sangria
2 oranges
1 lemon
2 apples
1-2 cup bourbon
½ cup triple sec
3-4 tsp hot sauce (they use Crystal)
¼ cup simple syrup
2-3 cinnamon sticks

Combine in a quart container and let marinate for at least a day.
Combine mixture with 2 bottles of sauvignon blanc and 3 cups apple cider and adjust to taste.
Garnish with chopped apple.

Makes enough for a small party (medium-sized punch bowl)..