A “Little Blood” With Your Tequila?

Mexico is one of my favorite places in the world to visit. It’s warm, beautiful, and diverse with vibrant, bustling cities, incredible beaches, and gorgeous mountain regions. The food is outrageous and the people friendly and hospitable. And then there’s tequila.

Jalisco is tequila country, and when you order a shot in Mexico, it’s almost always served neat with a rider of sangrita. Meaning “little blood” in Spanish, this non-alcoholic refresher is a spicy and bright juice blend, intended to be sipped with tequila to complement its flavors. The sangrita recipe is versatile; everybody has their own interpretation. Most recipes I’ve had are a spiced-up balance of lime, orange, and tomato juice. Think bloody mary mix only much lighter and citrus-forward. Sipping tequila and sangrita side-by-side is a treat that elevates the drinking experience, but tequila is rarely served this way in the States. It’s for this reason I chose to showcase this chipotle variation with Gran Centenario Tequila and Pati’s Mexican Table host, Pati Jinich, on her series, Drink To That.

Spicy Chipotle Sangrita Recipe

For The Tomato Juice
Sure, you can use bottled juice, but fresh is far more flavorful and worth the additional effort.
2 Lbs of ripe tomatoes (makes about ½ quart)
1 chipotle in adobo
1 Tbs sugar
Salt and pepper

Cook down in a pot on medium heat for about 20 minutes. Strain.

For The Sangrita
Pro Tip: Make your sangrita on Cinco De Mayo, preserving the leftovers for Mother’s Day for a tasty alternative to a Bloody Maria.

½ quart juice
1 cup orange juice
½ cup lime
2 Tbs agave syrup
1-2 tsp adobe sauce or to taste (Optional)
2 Tbs minced onion
Few dashes Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Build in a blender. Blend briefly to combine, pour into a pitcher, seal, and let chill.

Tequila + Sangrita

1½ oz Gran Centenario Reposado Tequila served neat
1½ oz Sangrita, with refills on the ready
1 lime wedge
Serve each component separately in shot glasses

Optional: Salt-and-paprika rim on the sangrita shot

Pequeño Vampiro (Little Vampire)

3 oz sangrita

1½ oz 100% agave tequila (El Tesoro or Ocho is recommended)

Fill a shaker with ice and combine. Shake until very cold, and strain into a salt-and-paprika rimmed rock glass over fresh ice. Garnish with lime and orange wedges.

John McCarthy is a spirit, travel, and lifestyle journalist, managing editor, and author of The Modern Gentleman.