Sangrita – What Makes Tequila Completo!

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Sangrita – it’s not a misspelling! It’s a wonderful complement to tequila – perfect for celebrating Cinco de Mayo or any time tequila is the drink you serve or the drink you crave. 

tequila and sangrita on white, green and red napkins

Sangrita – The Perfect Complement to Tequila

In 2010 we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at The Grand Velas Resort in Playa del Carmen Yucatan Peninsula Mexico, During our decadent stay at this all-inclusive resort, we learned about a drink called SangriTa. A discovery we made in the pool bar one lovely afternoon…

What is the Difference between Sangria and Sangrita?

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? Sangria, as you may know, is a wine-based punch with fresh fruit and spices – so refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. But we were enjoying our tequila on this trip 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 we acquiesced.

2 sangritas with tequila bottle in background

What is Sangrita?

Turns out sangrita is 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.

There are also fruit based versions. Sometimes pomegranate juice is used to mimic the look of grenadine. Or as a reader told me, sometimes it is made from the drippings from fruit salad combined with red chili spice.

Whatever version you choose, the idea is to create a flavor to complement the tequila.

tequila with sangrita in the background

How do you Serve Sangrita?

To serve, use 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.

jar of tomato juice plus bloody mary mix and boxed tomatoes

What is the Best Tomato Base to Use?

Many versions of tomatoes can serve as your base: tomato juice, bloody mary mix, canned pureed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes or 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 my Dormant Chef husband as the tester. His favorite version is the recipe I share below.

lemon, lime, tangerine juices for sangrita in white bowls

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. He didn’t prefer it — it had an almost gazpacho quality which is not his favorite. I thought it was very fresh tasting and enjoyed it with the tequila.

closeup of sangrita with tequila bottle in background and limes

Flavor Balance

The idea is to provide a complement, a balance to the tequila. The best recipe is the one that you and your palate enjoy with the tequila you are serving. My next version will be with pomegranate juice – maybe even a dash of pomegranate molasses!

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!

What to Serve with Sangrita and Tequila?

My Slow Cooker Carnitas are so easy to make and serve a crowd very easily!


Stuffed Mini Peppers from Fearless Dining


Instant Pot Beef Carnitas from Pastry Chef Online


Chili Lime Grilled Artichokes from Family Spice


Sangrita, not to be confused with Sangria, is like a bloody mary deconstructed and made with tequila. This one is tomato-based, other versions are said to be made with the leftover fruit juice from a fruit salad.
5 from 2 votes


Makes about 1 3/4 cups. Can be doubled.
Course Beverage
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword sangrita, tequila
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 57 kcal


  • 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 serrano pepper rough chopped (I left the seeds in)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 splashes Worcestershire sauce to taste


  1. Add first 4 ingredients to blender and liquefy for a few seconds. Taste and then add ground pepper and worcestershire to taste.



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14 Responses to Sangrita – What Makes Tequila Completo!

  1. Laura May 8, 2019 at 1:04 pm #

    5 stars
    I’ve never heard of this, even after 18 years living here in San Diego!

  2. Sandi May 6, 2019 at 9:34 am #

    5 stars
    Yes! I love anything Bloody Mary and I can’t wait to give this fun variation a try!!

  3. Rita May 4, 2019 at 5:25 pm #

    sangrita, sangria, tequila… it’s all good!

  4. Cheryl Connors May 4, 2019 at 7:33 am #

    Hi Beth!! Try using Clamato juice. It’s thinner than tomato juice. That’s what I use to make my Bloody Caesars and it’s delicious!

    • Beth Lee May 4, 2019 at 7:37 am #

      That’s a great idea Cheryl. Cheers and Salud!

  5. Rod April 27, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    The original recipe for Sangrita did not contain tomato juice. It was only fruit juices that had dripped from the fruit salad and ground red chiles. To this day, that’s the one I prefer. I’m not sure how or when tomato flavoring crept in there, but I don’t care for it. To each his own. 🙂

    • Beth Lee May 5, 2015 at 8:08 am #

      Hi Rod – thanks for sharing that bit of history on how sangrita originated. Looking forward to learning more and trying variations.

  6. shawn May 22, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Used to call these “vampiritos” up in the Juarez area. Definitely a great hot weather refresher.

  7. citymouse May 11, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    I bought a bottle of sangrita a couple of years ago when I was hosting some sort of Mexican dinner but never used it. It’s still sitting on my shelf, mainly because I wasn’t really sure how to serve it. That bottle is probably way past it’s prime and needs to go but I think I will definitely give your recipe a whirl. I love Bloodies and this looks like a fun way to drink tequila.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  8. rsmacaalay May 9, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    Wow that looks like a perfect drink for a very hot day

  9. Karen from Globetrotter Diaries May 5, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    It’s so hot in LA right now that this is perfect! I LOVED the Yucatan– incredible food, and even better drinks 🙂

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