Next Thursday is Day of the Dead, and so my thoughts naturally go to tequila. However, drinking a margarita is far too festive for such a sombre festival (it is about remembering the dead, after all) so I’ve decided to focus on a more reflective drink: the sangrita.
Little known outside of Mexico, sangrita is a fiery red non-alcoholic drink that you sip while drinking good quality tequila (and by that I mean one made from 100 percent agave – for example, at the moment I’m drinking Espolon reposado). The idea behind the sangrita, as Christine Sismondo (one of my favourite alcohol authors) once said, is to fight fire with fire.
There is no standard sangrita recipe. A lot of people add tomato to it (although Jeffrey Morgenthaler points out that this isn’t traditional), some pomegranate. The only constants are that it needs to be red (the name means “little blood” in Spanish) and it should have orange juice and lime juice in it. For more variables, some add onion, others grapefruit juice, Worcestershire sauce and Sismondo even recommends adding Clamato, some Canadian drink made with clam and tomato juice.
The sangrita recipe I use is:
- orange juice (one ounce)
- lime juice (3/4 ounce)
- tomato juice (I actually pulped a small cherry tomato for this) OR pomegranate juice (4/4 ounce)
- five or six dashes of Tabasco
- a single splash of Worcestershire sauce
I personally prefer the tomato version but using pomegranate still works well, although you might want to add more orange juice to counter the pomegranate’s sourness (however, the Worcestershire sauce and the Tabasco alone do a surprisingly good job of this).
The above recipe works for me but there are countless variations – so if you have a recipe that works for you, tell us about it in a comment below: