Cocktail & Other Recipes Cocktail Type Shots & Shooters

Sangrita

Two glasses rest on a black surface in front of a bamboo mat. On the left is a squat shot glass of tequila. On the right is a larger glass of vivid orange Sangrita, garnished with a jalapeño.
Image:

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

If you ever drank tequila in college or other time in youth, chances are you enjoyed it as a shooter, quickly downed after licking some salt and then followed by biting into a lime wedge. As you aged, maybe you learned to appreciate the nuances, complexities and depths of the famous Mexican agave spirit, and instead took to drinking it neat, sipping it like you would a fine whiskey or brandy. If so, you can still find a tradition attached to drinking tequila, and that is accompanying it with Sangrita.

This non-alcoholic tomato and citrus-based drink has nothing to do with Sangria, despite their names being similar and both being related to “bloody.” Instead, it’s closer to a Bloody Mary, minus the vodka and with a lot more citrus. Like the Bloody Mary, no two recipes are exactly alike, and some differ wildly. Some versions of Sangrita omit the tomato in exchange for more citrus, while others include cucumber, papaya, mango or other fruits. Usually there’s some kind of heat, with hot sauce, fresh peppers or both. And while it was relatively unknown outside of the Mexican state of Jalisco for many years, in recent times the popularity of Sangrita has spread, and you can even find bottled versions of it on store shelves and online markets. However, nothing compares to making it fresh yourself. This particular recipe comes from San Francisco bartender and cocktail consultant Jacques Bezuidenhout.

Bezuidenhout likes his Sangrita citrusy, tomatoey and with some pepperiness from both hot sauce (he uses Cholula or Tabasco brands) and fresh jalapeño peppers. It will keep for about a week in the refrigerator, though it’s going to be best right after you make it or the following day. Once you have it, it will transform the way you taste tequila. “You’ll have a little sip of tequila, and you’ll have a little sip of Sangrita. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy your favorite tequila,” Bezuidenhout says.

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Click Play to See This Sangrita Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces tomato juice

  • 6 ounces grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed

  • 6 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 2 ounces lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 2 ounces Tabasco

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, halved (with seeds)

Steps

  1. Add the tomato juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, Tabasco, black pepper, salt and jalapeño pepper into a pitcher and stir until the salt dissolves.

  2. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, then remove and discard the jalapeño. (The longer the jalapeño infuses, the spicier the Sangrita will be.)

  3. Serve as an accompaniment to a shot of tequila.

  4. Store any remaining Sangrita in the refrigerator.