Salt and lemon. They’re what you’d probably think the accompaniments are to a shot of tequila. You would, however, be mistaken. Mexicans, and let’s face it, they know a lot about their national drink, approach it differently. They chase tequila the traditional way, with Sangrita.
Sangria? Isn’t that Spanish, you ask? No, we’re not talking about fruit-infused red wine. We’re talking about Sangrita, a different drink entirely, and not just because of the added T.
Sangrita is not that well-known beyond Mexico’s borders, but in the land of tequila, you’ll find it in every cantina, large and small. It’s a non-alcoholic beverage, that’s a simple mix of juices and spices, designed as a tequila enhancer, to magnify the spirit’s flavours.
You drink this sweet, spicy, and savoury sidekick with your tequila, alternating sips, and cleansing your palate as you go. And, boy, the two go together, like tacos and Tuesdays!
Sangrita, which means “little blood” in Spanish, was born in the Lake Chapala region of Jalisco, Mexico, the same state tequila calls home. And, like so many other cocktails, its origins are mysteriously obscure, with different sources telling different stories.
Some people say that Sangrita was born in the 1920s, and was the leftover juices from Pico de Gallo, a fruit salad popular in Guadalajara. After you enjoyed your salad, you poured the leftover juices into a clay cup, and drank it with your tequila, which, as we all know, is a well-appreciated digestif.
Legend also has it that a man, going by the name of Señor Sanchez, had a small bar in Tequila, the town in Jalisco. He treated his guests and patrons to homemade tequila, and his wife served pieces of orange topped with salt and chili powder. It was only a while later that the orange pieces were substituted with orange juice, and the accompaniment evolved into its liquid form that Mexicans know and love today.
Ingredients for Sangrita Shots
As we said, there’s an endless array of Sangrita variations (of which more later). For the novice Sangrita maker though, let’s stick to the original Sangrita recipe.
- 5 1/2 ounces tomato juice (not V8)
- 5 ounces orange juice
- 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 2 dashes Tabasco
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 ounce Olmeca Tequila Silver
How to Make this Sangrita Shot Recipe
You don’t need to have a doctorate in chemistry to make perfect Sangrita! No, quite the opposite, it’s simple.
- Mix all your ingredients well.
- Add a little ice and strain into a small pitcher for serving later.
- Enjoy with Olmeca Blanco, the quality tequila of choice.
Tips to Enjoy your Sangrita Shot
In order to take your Sangrita properly, like true Mexicans do, you have to be aware of some specific directions you need to follow when drinking this perfect pairing.
- Never down it in one. Sangrita is supposed to refresh your palate in between your sips of tequila, and enhance its flavour.
- Serve your Sangrita shots in pony glasses. You may not have heard of a pony glass. It’s a small glass, 4.7 ounces to be exact, that’s almost, but not quite, full-sized. You know. Like a pony.
- Try a Mexican custom and enjoy it as a Banderita, or “Little flag”. This tradition involves lining up your shots of lime juice (green), tequila (white), and Sangrita (red), the colours of Mexico’s flag!
- A litre of Sangrita is enough to wash down 20 tequila shots.
- They say Sangrita chasers are a great way to stave off a hangover. And after those 20 tequila shots, you and your friends may well need them!
Sangrita Shot Recipe Variations
Now, the above Sangrita recipe is the classic, but along the way, people have experimented with different ingredients, each one adding their own nuance to the drink. You can also mix and match on your own if you like. Just remember, a Sangrita can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it’s acidic and spicy.
Here are a few popular Sangrita recipe variations:
- Clamato Sangrita With Jalapeño and Coriander. If you’re a Bloody Mary fan, this one’s for you, as it’s tomato-based, savoury, and spicy. Plus, because you’re using clamato juice, you’ll get the extra savouriness of clam juice and celery salt.
- Grapefruit Sangrita With Chipotle and Honey. This recipe is a great match for your Olmeca Blanco. Its spice adds depth to the bitter grapefruit, but the honey tames it perfectly, and the chipotle chili powder adds just the right amount of smokiness.
- Spicy Pineapple-Cucumber Sangrita. Feeling tropical? This Sangrita has your back! It blends the coolness of cucumber with chili-dusted pineapple. You’ll love its hot and cold!
Best Tequila for Sangrita Shots
You’re after a quality tequila here, one that has enough depth and taste to sip. So, it stands to reason that you’re after Olmeca Blanco with its fresh scent and soft citrus notes. So, go on and get your authentic tequila and Sangrita combination!