You may remember a couple months ago Anson and I were invited to a wine, tequila and mezcal tasting at Vinoteque on Melrose. We tasted some really surprising wines, an oaky tequila, and a smokey mezcal, but the drink that I came away with was the sangrita we were served with the tequila.
One sip and I was completely intrigued by the many layers of flavors: bright citrus, sweet juice, some kind of umami component, and a spicy kick in the back of my throat after a moment. I had never tasted anything quite like it and I couldn't even begin to guess what was in it besides the obvious orange juice.
What did they say this was? Sangria? No, sangrita. With all the exposure to Mexican culture we have in Southern California, and a boyfriend who is a tequila enthusiast, I was surprised I had never heard of it.
Chef Sheila Gomez was kind enough to share her recipe, along with a explanation:
"A lot of people think that sangrita is sangria's little sister, but that's not actually the case. Sangria comes from Spain and sangrita comes from Mexico and is made specifically to complement tequila."
We had our friends, Kim and Barry, from Rustic Garden Bistro over last weekend, and I built a menu around Mexican food so that I had an excuse to make this recipe. With the first sip, my taste memory kicked in and I smiled to myself, remembering my wonder at tasting the sangrita for the first time, and being amazed at the alchemy in my mouth.
Sangritafrom Chef Sheila Gomez, Vinoteque on Melrose
2 cups tangerine juice
1 cup lime juice (fresh)
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 ounce grenadine
2 shakes of hot sauce (I used red Tabasco)
3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
Combine all and sip with tequila.
Chef Gomez' instructions are to "feel free to play around with it," so these are the measurements I used based on her guidelines. My only recommendation is to go light on the Tabasco as it makes a big impression.
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I spoke with host chef/winemaker, Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain the night of the event, and he echoed Chef Gomez' explanation of sangrita and offered his recipe as well. I was surprised at how different the recipes are, and I'm looking forward to trying Chef Beristain's recipe soon.
Sangrita Catarinafrom Chef Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain, Grupo Pangea
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup orange juice
1/2 stalk celery, blended with the orange juice
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Maggi sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup jicama, finely diced
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well, adjust seasoning and chill.