Independence Day (September 16) is Mexico’s most important non-religious celebration. After all, it took the country 11 years to achieve independence from Spain. More than 200 years later, we still celebrate that most important day. In every Mexican city and town, politicians re-enact the original call for arms that Father Miguel Hidalgo made in the town of Dolores, in central Mexico. Flags, cheers, fireworks and a lot of national pride rule the day (and night).
Since Mexicans are a patriotic bunch, the celebrations for independence are at the top of the list. The colors of the flag are everywhere, from food displays in grocery stores to storefront windows, to the food we make at home and in restaurants.
It is common to order a banderita at the bar. Three shots make up this patriotic drink: lime juice, silver tequila, and sangrita, in that order from left to right, to mimic the colors of the flag. It is the perfect drink to celebrate independencia.
Well, we all know what lime juice and silver tequila are. But how about sangrita? Sangrita is a sort of chaser that is traditionally served with tequila. Many versions of it abound, and you can certainly buy commercial sangrita, but nothing beats this recipe made at home. The best ones are always a mixture of orange, lime and tomato juices, but my version has a bit of fresh celery, Serrano chile, onion, and cilantro in the mix. It's addictive and delicious and can easily be enjoyed alone as a vegetable cocktail or spicy morning juice. I even mix it with beer to make a sort of spicy drink that is both thirst-quenching and delicious. Salud!