Spanish for “little blood,” sangrita is a traditional accompaniment to a sipped blanco tequila or mezcal, hailing straight from the heart of Jalisco. Not to be confused with sangria, the more popular and fruit-based summer wine drink, sangrita is a non-alcoholic sipper served completo; cleansing the drinker’s palate between gulps of tequila. In other words: take a sip of tequila, then take a sip of sangrita to quell the harshness of said tequila. Repeat until glasses are empty.
The more Americanized version of sangrita involves a tomato base, but once again the gringos got it wrong. A traditional sangrita consists of a blend of Seville orange and pomegranate juices and a powdered chili to add a kick of heat. The original sangrita is perfectly balanced with sweet, sour and spice, and is the perfect complement to your favorite agave spirit.
Traditional Sangrita Recipe
1 oz fresh squeezed Seville Orange
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
½ oz homemade pomegranate grenadine
¼ oz ancho chili powder
1-2 slices jalapeno
Today’s mixologists are having a field day creating their own takes on a classic sangrita. With fresh and organic being prominent behind most cocktail bars, sangritas are an easy and fun way to be creative and unique. For the past 3 years, the Bon Vivants (a cocktail consulting team based in San Francisco) have sponsored the Viva Sangrita! event at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. The bartender with the “finest, original, thought and palate provoking Sangrita” wins a trip to the Tequila Ocho distillery in Jalisco, Mexico.
Whether traditional or with a penchant for the creative, plain and simple, sangrita is the perfect way to enjoy tequila or mezcal.