Since last August when we returned from our decadent and surreal vacation at The Grand Velas Resort in Playa del Carmen Yucatan Peninsula Mexico, I’ve been plotting to write a post about sangrita. Cinco de Mayo seemed like the perfect excuse. Yes, I meant to type SangriTa. A discovery we made in the pool bar one lovely afternoon…
Pool bartender extraordinaire, José, was generously pouring our afternoon tequila shots, when he asked: Would you like some sangrita? I heard the question as: Would you like some sangria, which for me, compared to shots of tequila, well, there is no comparison so I quickly said thanks, but no thanks. He stood firm. You really should try this sangrita if you like the tequila. It’s how we drink our tequila in the Yucatan – it’s called Completo. Ok – well José had not steered us wrong on the tequila so far so this was an easy leap of faith, especially after the first shot.
Turns out sangrita is kind of like the bloody part of bloody mary. In fact, sangrita means “little blood”. Drinking tequila this way is akin to a deconstructed bloody mary with tequila in place of the vodka. In the Yucatan, where we were, the sangrita is made with tomatoes in some form, lime juice, orange juice, and some type of spicy pepper. In other regions, the sangrita is made with grenadine and orange juice with a dash of lime and spices – the grenadine making it red. Can’t say I’ve tried it that way but it doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as the tomato-based version José served.
To enjoy, you need two shot glasses, one filled with sangrita, one with tequila. You take a sip of sangrita, then a sip of tequila. It’s a little slice of tequila heaven – refreshing like a great bloody mary at brunch. Hmmm…tequila at Mother’s Day brunch. I like that idea.
Many versions of tomatoes can be your base: tomato juice, bloody mary mix, canned tomatoes pureed, fresh tomatoes or a even a good fresh salsa. Then add fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice, and your choice of fresh peppers or dash of tobasco-like hot sauce(s). I tried a couple of different versions with @DormantChef as the tester. His favorite version was this:
Makes about 1 3/4 cups. Can be doubled.
1 cup bloody mary mix (any brand you prefer)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (store-bought could work)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 of a serrano pepper, rough chopped (I left the seeds in)
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 or 3 splashes of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
Add first 4 ingredients to blender and liquefy for a few seconds. Taste and then add ground pepper and worcestershire to taste.
I made another version with organic tomato juice as a base instead of bloody mary mix, clementine juice instead of orange juice, some cucumber and medium hot habanero lime salsa. @DormantChef didn’t prefer it — it had an almost gazpacho quality which is not his favorite. Very fresh tasting and I still enjoyed it with the tequila. Just depends on your personal preference.
The idea is to provide a complement, a balance to the tequila. The best recipe is the one that your palate enjoys with the tequila you are serving.
We enjoyed so many aspects of our trip to The Grand Velas in the Yucatan Peninsula but this unexpected drink discovery at the pool bar was one of our most memorable highlights of the vacation. Thanks José!