How to Make Sangrita

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Not to be confused with the Spanish wine-and-fruit-based alcoholic beverage sangria, sangrita (meaning “little blood”) is a traditional accompaniment to a tequila served completo; a non-alcoholic sipper that cleanses the palate between fiery doses of agave.

Years ago I was taught that sangrita is a blend of tomato and orange juices, with the addition of something spicy (hot sauce, typically) for a little kick. But further research has convinced me that this American sangrita recipe, while still enjoyable and certainly prevalent, is not altogether authentic.

Real sangrita from the Lake Chapala region of Jalisco is made with Seville orange and pomegranate juices, with powdered chiles added for heat. Taking into account that even the most cocktailian bartender (professional or otherwise) doesn’t typically stock sour oranges or pomegranate juice behind the bar, I’ve worked up a recipe that should approximate the flavor of this spicy little sour orange and pomegranate chaser while still providing an authentic experience.

This is far from the final word on sangrita. I’ll still continue to enjoy the tomato varieties (1,2,3), but I think you’ll find a brightness and depth of flavor from this version that plays better with a wider variety of mezcals and tequilas than its heavier gringo cousin.

What’s your experience with sangrita? Chime in with your stories and recipes in the comments section.

Sangrita Print Me

  • 1 oz orange juice (freshly-squeezed)
  • ¾ oz - 1 oz lime juice (depending on the sweetness of your oranges)
  • ½ oz real pomegranate grenadine
  • 3 dashes hot sauce or ¼ tsp pasilla chili powder
  1. Mix ingredients, chill, and serve.

Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com

50 Replies to “How to Make Sangrita”

  • Steve says:

    Whipping up a batch of your Sangrita. It is stewing in the fridge for a bit. I added a pinch of salt and a bit of onion. I had to use McCormick Chili Powder, as I could not find the type you specified. Was there a reason you chose that specific powder? Anyways, I am about to imbibe. I bought some Corzo Tequila. Silver. I highly recommend it. Max Respect.

  • stephen wheeler says:

    el jimador reposado is the way to go for the price. peppery and delicious

  • JT says:

    Great recipe! Tastes just like it should. As a old cocktail lover that grew up in Houston this is what I have been searching for…

    Any plans for a Michelada recipe?

    Thanks again and keep up the good work it is appreciated.

  • R says:

    Keep the thread alive.

    finally got around to trying this last night. delicious.

  • Jane says:

    I know it sounds twee, but a good middle ground for the tomato/no tomato debate is tomato water – gives the perfect essence, doesn’t mess with the consistency. Also I prefer fresh jalapenos or serranos run through a juicer to powder!

  • Don says:

    While we have a hard time getting sour juice oranges here anymore (So-Cal) – what we DO have popping up more and more commonly is Tangelos.

    Early in the season, they are quite tart (late season, they can get almost blood orange sweet…) I’d guess you could substitute tangerines as well, just avoid the sweet Cuties as you’re looking for the sour/tart/acidity.

    I’ve also seen all kinds of variations, with and without tomato – but the street corner fruit salad, with a bit of pico and a squeeze of lime makes the most sense as to it’s origin.

    Pineapple, mango, jicama, orange, lime, chile and salt. That’s the basic you’ll get almost anywhere.

    With that as a guide, the sky is the limit.

    I think I’ll make up a batch the next time I get some pineapple and tangelos from the market.

  • B.Buckman says:

    I have been a resident of Mexico for eighteen years and a drinker for sixty years. I have enjoyed the thread about sangrita. Although I learned years ago that tequila and I could never be friends my Mexican wife enjoys her ‘happy hour’ shot with sangrita. I have always bought the commercial brand Jimador sangrita, which she preferred, but in the last couple of years it has all but disappeared from local stores.

    Consequently, I’m going to experiment with the recipes offered in your blog and see if I can come up with something that satisfies not only the Señora but also her siblings who stop in occasionally for ‘happy hour’. Great site!

  • JT says:

    I guess it’s that time of year again…

    Much like my previous comment, I was looking up Michelada recipes and ran across Erick Castro’s recipe you posted on Playboy.

    http://www.playboy.com/articles/behold-the-healing-powers-of-the-michelada

    The recipe called for “¾ 1:1 simple syrup”, with no measurement listed. Assuming this would be listed in ounces it is equal to the amount of lime juice, is this correct?

    Still loving your insights a year later. Have a great summer!

  • George says:

    I have been drinking Sangritas for a few years now and have found that tiny tweaks in the recipe make a big difference in the final product.
    I really like the recipe you have here but please try these few changes and see if it pleases.
    The mouth feel will be enhanced with about 1/4 tsp of salt, maybe a little less. I make mine in batches so not exactly sure of the amount. The other change is to muddle some Jalapeno or even Habanero. The fresh peppers go better with the fresh lime juice and the fresh orange juice. The Jalapeno brings out the Agave in the tequila but is not hot enough for some. The Habanero brings out the fruit in the Sangrita.
    When you balance the recipe to your taste the Tequila and Sangrita will be like cookies and milk.

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