Latin Twist: Mexican-Style Spiced Tomato Juice Cocktail


If you like  tomato juice, you’re a bloody Mary fan—and you enjoy tequila from time to time—this drink is for you!

I was introduced to this drink several years ago in Mexico (south of the city) at a lovely lunch in at the market in Coyoacán, home of the amazing Frida Khalo, and a place worth a visit! (Ah—as far as food in the market,   had quesadillas con flor de calabaza, zucchini flowers, and wow, they were beyond melt-in-your-mouth good!  But that’s another story!)

Getting back to the drink, this one is called sangrita,  which literally means “little blood.” Sangrita is a kind of spicy tomato juice, which, honestly, I’m so happy to drink on its own! BUT it does marry quite well with tequila. So, this sangrita, is a key component in another drink, which is called the banderita, or little flag. Why little flag? Because the drink—which consists of three shots: one of tequila, one of fresh lime juice, and one of sangrita—makes up the stripe colors of the Mexican flag (as you can see here, beautifully photographed by Dasha Wright, and from my book, Mambo Mixers!)

So how do you drink this (stay with me—this is the fun part!)? Well, I thin there are variations, but I was taught to take a sip of the sangrita, then the lime juice, and then the tequila—swish them around, and then swallow!

Sangrita recipes vary—but this is my favorite (and I’ve bough bottled  versions…but haven’t found one that matches this!!!). Also, here they’re pictured with pepitas (which I wrote about here, back in October!).


Yield: About 4 cups, or sixteen 2-ounce servings


  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process to blend.
  2. Pour into a pitcher, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 5 days.


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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