Variations and Substitutions
Since there's no universal recipe for the sangria margarita, there's plenty of room to improvise and experiment.
- Use coconut, orange, or pineapple tequila for a fruitier flavor.
- For a smokier, more complex, sangria margarita try mezcal instead of silver tequila.
- Likewise, añejo or reposado tequila smooth caramel layers.
- Experiment with different styles of red wine, whether dry, sweet, or fruity.
- Instead of cabernet sauvignon or another similar red wine, use homemade red sangria to maximize the fruity flavors found in traditional sangrias.
- Instead of mixing in the red wine, float it on top like a layer similar to a New York Sour.
Don't feel like you need to use a lime wheel for a garnish--you can get as colorful and strange or reserved and traditional as you want.
- Like with traditional sangria, go wild with the fruit garnishes. Add oranges, lemons, and limes, as many, or as few, as you'd like.
- Keep it simple by using just a lime, lemon, or orange wedge, wheel, or slice.
- Dehydrated citrus wheels and slices add a gothic touch to the deep red sangria margarita.
- Use a citrus peel, ribbon, or twist. You can use these alone, but also consider using in combination with other garnishes, such as an orange ribbon with a lemon wheel or lime peel with a dehydrated orange slice.
- Add a pineapple wedge or leaf for an even more tropical touch.
About the Sangria Margarita
Sangria's roots can be traced all the way back to the 1700s. However, there's no way of knowing its true place of origin, as people enjoyed sangria across Spain, Greece, and England during that time. Sangria didn't make its way to North America until over two hundred years later, in the 20th century. During the 1964 World's Fair, sangria was rapidly introduced to Americans and became a household staple for hosts.
Margaritas rose to prominence around the same time as sangria, after tequila was made a star following Prohibition. There's no known time or place when these two drinks finally came face to face, but it's a pairing that makes sense. Sangria often uses fruity flavors, such as lime and orange already found in margaritas, as well as additional spirits to boost the punch. While the idea of a marriage between these two well-loved drinks can, at first, appear strange, all doubts quickly erase after the first sip.
There's nothing better than a cocktail that satisfies two competing desires. Much like the New York Sour, the sangria margarita is a way to enjoy a classic cocktail with a touch of red wine notes. So don't worry about making a decision, have your cake and eat it too.