Sexy, Sultry Sangrita

I’m not typically one for trends. And I become sullen when something I’ve “discovered” becomes trendy — i.e. mojitos, small plate dinners, salted caramels, etc. But my friend, Dan, likes tequila. He brings me tequila when he comes back from Mexico. I like Dan. And separately, coincidentally, we stumbled onto sangrita.

Fine tequila, itself, has become something of a trend. Where years ago if you went to a Mexican restaurant, you’d eat enchiladas and have a margarita made with Cuervo — or maybe Don Julio if it was an upscale joint and you had some cash — now you can sample a range of small artisanally produced tequilas and mezcals with your Oaxacan molé or Yucatan cochinita pibil. Like many trends — unlike cupcakes and food trucks — it’s a good thing. And if tequila was to become a trend, sangrita couldn’t be far behind.

For the uneducated, “sangrita” is a generic term for any of a variety of mixed, non-alcoholic, usually fruit-based “chasers” for tequila. It’s a bit like mixing a tequila drink, only in your mouth instead of a glass. And much as with wine-and-food pairing, the right sangrita — paired with the right tequila — will bring out all kinds of subtle and interesting flavor notes in the tequila.

Next time your friend brings you back a lovely artisanal tequila from Mexico, leave the lime and salt for the kids — make some queso fundido, stir up a sangrita or three, and let the night unfold.

Following are some of Dan and my favorite sangrita recipes, arrived upon through a blissful process of trial and error:

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Dan’s Rockin’ Spicy Tomato Sangrita
2 parts V8, 1 part pineapple juice, 1 part fresh grapefruit juice,  1 1/2 part orange juice,  1 1/2 Mexican limes squeezed,  1 handful of cilantro,  4 slices of jalapeño,  4 dashes of habanero hot sauce. Blend on high till well mixed. Leave a couple hours in the fridge to let flavors meld and mature. Serve chilled.

Watermelon Sangrita
1 part watermelon juice, 1 part grapefruit juice, chopped mint, green tabasco to taste. This one is meant to be sweeter than the tomato based as that one is supposed to have some heat with the sweet.

Pineapple Habeñero Sangrita
12 oz. pineapple juice, 1/4 cup orange juice, juice of one lime, 1 tsp. bottled habeñero sauce (ex. El Yucateco brand). Mix ingredients together and let sit in fridge for several hours before serving.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mom
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 16:43:16

    That’s interesting. 25 or so years ago Laura and I were in a very posh restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala. It was mandatory that we drink a shot of Tequila, followed by a house made tomato drink and then a beer. That tomato one was likely a sangrita.


  2. T Lee
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 18:54:39

    I am not sure how jalapeño, tabasco, and habeñero are supposed to bring out the flavor of the tequila. I do know that Mexicans love to drink tabasco in their beer. LOTS. No colon cancer on them!

    P.S. Ever had the Bailey’s version of tequila? I mean the creamy liqueur? OMG our Mexican friend introduced us to that one.


    • scolgin
      Feb 11, 2011 @ 23:10:59

      I admire the Mexicans and their inflaming of everything. ; ) Haven’t heard of the creamy tequila. I must confess, I’m a little afraid. LOL


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