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Ordinarily, you can tell if I have made a recipe here or am just supplying you with an exciting one from a cookbook. I can’t actually test and taste everything, so sometimes you are going to be the one enjoying that first taste. You can tell which scenario is in playby the picture. If I made it, I photograph it. If I haven’t made it, I use a photo, typically much better than mine, from the book.

Well, here, I made this wonderful cocktail. But, my photos of cocktails and soups are famous for being bad, and this cocktail is really good, so I’ve used the book’s lovely picture. It’s a gem, just like the beverage.

This is author, and bar owner, Julie Reiner’s variation on the Bloody Mary. No tomato juice here, hence the Sin Sangre in the title. No, you muddle cherry tomatoes with basil leaves and simple syrup. No vodka either. It’s tequila. And, only God and Julie know why, there is a splash of sherry.

The picture and the story and the ingredients were too powerful a pull for me to resist. My wife Suzi is a Bloody Mary fanatic. Her response after the first sip? “More.”

The flavor profile here is intriguing. The basil is powerful, the tomatoes sweet but earthy, and the simply syrup provides an underlying brightness. Then the tequila and sherry give you a jet-powered culinary shove.

Try this once and you, too, will simply say, “More.”

Maria Sin Sangre

Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 basil leaves
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces blanco tequila (I recommend El Tesoro)
  • ½ ounce dry sherry (I recommend Williams Humbert medium-dry)
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • Garnish of basil leaf and cherry tomato, if you desire


In the bottom of a shaker, muddle the tomatoes and basil in the simple syrup. Add the tequila, sherry, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and shake with ice until chilled. Double strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a coupe glass.

To create the garnish, pierce a small hole in the top of the tomato and insert the stem of the basil leaf like a flag. Make a slit in the bottom of the tomato and perch the tomato on I the rim of the glass.

Source: The Craft Cocktail Party by Julie Reiner [Grand Central Life and Style, 2015]