Sangrita for the Traditionalist

A traditional citrus-based sangrita
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.

Mexican vs. American Sangrita: A Tale of Two Recipes
  • 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