Sangrita for the Traditionalist

Alex Valencia, bartender at La Contenta, NYC, and native of Jalisco, Mexico, gives us this no-tomato sangrita recipe from his youth. Just bring Tequila.
A traditional citrus-based sangrita / Photo by Meg Baggott

Courtesy Alex Valencia, bartender/partner, La Contenta, New York City

A native of Jalisco, Mexico, Valencia now helms the bar at La Contenta where he shines a light on mezcal, Tequila, and lesser known Mexican spirits like raicilla and sotol.

“Growing up as a kid in Guadalajara, I remember my sister and me drinking sangritas when we were just 9 years old,” Valencia said. “My mom used to make these with grapefruit juice, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. This is the recipe I grew up on, and we never used tomato juice … Other families in different regions and states of Mexico had their own takes on the sangrita, some with grapefruit soda or lime juice.”

He adds, “In Mexico, there’s not a heavy cocktail culture so this mixture was created to compliment tequila.”

Valencia’s recipe focuses on simplicity and tartness to refresh the palate after each sip of Tequila.

A Tale of Two Sangritas
  • 8 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 4 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 5–10 dashes hot sauce (more or less to taste)
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt

Combine all ingredients and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Published on May 5, 2017
About the Author
Dylan Garret
Senior Digital Editor

A veteran of New York City’s bar and restaurant scene, Garret has lived, breathed and sweated spirits for more than a decade, working as a bartender and beverage director at establishments ranging from Michelin-starred eateries to local Brooklyn pubs. Joining Wine Enthusiast in 2015, he has very strong opinions on proper cocktail garnish.
Instagram: @dillinisillin

The latest wine reviews, trends and recipes plus special offers on wine storage and accessories