Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Bon Vivants Pop My Sangrita Cherry

Last week the dynamic duo of Josh Harris and Scott Baird were in Los Angeles from their home base of San Francisco and hosted a sangrita tasting at Hemingway's Bar with Tequila Ocho.  Hemingway's maestro Alex Straus was there and the Bon Vivants prepared a delicious trio of sangritas, each paired with a Tequila Ocho expression.  Straus announced that the the Bon Vivants are now Three Amigos as he has joined with Josh and Scott as the LA based representative of the trio.

Josh Harris of the Bon Vivants
I can't explain how I had never managed to try sangrita before.  For the uninitiated, sangrita is a juice based drink served alongside shots of tequila.  You sip the tequila, then the sangrita.  The sangrita may have originally been drunk to counter the harshness of the tequila, but Ocho is so smooth, the sangrita was enjoyable on its own merits as there was no need to chase away non-existent harshness.  The name sounds like sangria, but this is something completely different and wonderful.

The Tequila Ocho Plata 2009 Rancho Las Pomez was paired with:
Sangrita of cucumber, celery, green apple, lime, serrano, jalapeno, horseradish, mint, cane sugar, sea salt, cardamom, black pepper, fino sherry.

Tequila Ocho Reposado 2009 Rancho Las Pomez was paired with:
Sangrita of tomato, orange, lime, pomegranate, ancho, japapeno, red fresno, ginger, cilantro, bragg's amino, cane sugar, vanilla, combier.

Tequila Ocho Anejo 2009 Rancho St. Augustin was paired with:
Sangrita of mango, pineapple, lime, habanero, aji amarillo, sea salt, cane sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, toasted cacao, amaro montenegro

My favorite of the sangritas was the mango version paired with the Anjeo.  The sweetness of the juice mixed with the salty and spicy from the sea salt and habanero peppers was a refreshing counterpoint to the mellow and smooth tequila.

The vivid green cucumber sangrita was also quite noteworthy.  Cucumber, celery, green apple and lime all contributed to the striking color, which was more delicious to drink than to look at.

The ritual of alternating sips of the tequila and the sangrita is a fun tradition that I am glad the Bon Vivants introduced me to.  I can attest that they live up to their name and now that Straus is part of the crew, the San Francisco portion of the group has a lot to live up to.  Note that the Vivants will be opening a bar, Trick Dog, in the Mission/Potrero neighborhood of San Francisco this Spring.

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