• Mar 18, 2016
  • by Nick Rose

Tequila and Sangrita, a Match Made in Heaven


Don't jump to the conclusion that I'm really bad with my Spanish here, I am but that's not the point. Sangrita, unlike sangria, has nothing to do with wine or tapas or cheap jugs at a bar copying the trendy hipster bars in Melbourne from 7 years ago.

It is how you get used to sipping tequila like a real tequilero.

Americans, bartenders, Mexicans, pretty much everyone has their own idea of what sangrita is. To the people of Lake Chapala in Jalisco Mexico it is a very specific drink, made by the madre of a famous cantina and tequila estate. She made it for her husband who would take customers and friends to go fishing on the lake with a bottle of tequila and her sangrita, some say it was so that if he ever fell overboard even the fish would not eat him because of all the chilli in his blood.

When I first made sangrita it wasn't easy to get my hands on the main ingredients but with the marvels of certain produce and juice manufacturing companies I can't go into my local supermarket without seeing pomegranate juice lining the shelves near the fresh produce section. Just incase I have added three recipes, one traditional, one that mimics the flavours of the traditional with easier ingredients and a North American version.


Traditional Sangrita

30mLs pomegranate juice

30mLs fresh seville orange juice

3 dashes of hot sauce (Cholula, Nando's, Tabasco or similar)

Shake ingredients in a small bottle until well blended. Seal the bottle and chill it until you are ready to serve it with a good pungent reposado or añejo. Only sip it as a chaser to the sips of tequila, do not shoot it and always shake the bottle hard before pouring.

It is a good idea to make a large batch of this well ahead of time as it does tend to last for weeks if refrigerated. If you are having a  barbecue then times each quantity by ten and pour into a sanitised wine bottle or similar large vessel so that you can pour out small glasses to have alongside tequila and margaritas. A great way to make a hot summer party that little bit better.

Easy-access Traditional Sangrita


30mLs blood orange juice

25mLs fresh lime juice

15mLs real pomegranate grenadine

3 dashes hot sauce or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper blend

Any orange will do for this version but blood oranges give the same colour as traditional sangrita. If you find the chilli a bit too intense just add some ground cinnamon and a touch more grenadine but remember this is Mexican so a bit of spice is only natural.


North American Sangrita


40mLs orange juice

20mLs tomato juice

2 dashes hot sauce or 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper blend

This very American version of sangrita is a very pleasing if savoury version. The tomato juice really takes away a lot of the burn of tequila but when compared next to the more traditional pomegranate version it lacks the tart sweetness that works so well with the earthy tones in most good tequilas. I find it tends to hide the tequila flavour more than enhance it but that is just my opinion.