In Mexico and the Southwest, a popular beverage to drink with tequila is called "sangrita." Not to be confused with "sangria," a fruit and wine concoction, this beverage is a tangy mixture of tomato and orange juices, usually spiked with hot chiles and lime juice. It may sound odd in flavor, but sangrita is the perfect accompaniment to good quality tequila, like an aged anejo. The tequila and sangrita are poured into separate shot glasses and the two are alternately sipped, not chased. First the tequila, then the chilled sangrita. Slowly, one after the other.
I prefer to sip this with a sophisticated tequila. Tequilas aged for one year or more in oak barrels are called "anejo" (meaning aged) and can be as smoky and complex as a fine Scotch. It's not cheap, but Herradura Anejo is one of the finest. Treat it with respect: sip it slow, don't shoot it. Using it as a mixer, as in Margaritas, is also a waste of its fine, smooth balance of flavors.
Sangrita ("Little Blood")
1 cup tomato juice
Juice of 3 limes
Juice of 2-3 oranges
Minced fresh green chiles (serranos or jalapeños) or hot salsa
Dash salt or to taste
Mix the ingredients in a pitcher. As the intensity of fresh juices and chiles vary, mix most of the ingredients, then alter to suit your own taste. Chill. Serve in shot glasses accompanied by shot glasses of tequila. Best served with a good quality tequila.
Remember: Sip each slowly and savor the flavors.
This page created January 1999
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