Last Look | Tequila's Spicy Sidekick

By all accounts it's a spirited occasion.

Each November, friends gather at Lucinda Hutson's funky purple house in Rosedale for her annual Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) celebration, held in her backyard garden brimming with tropical plants, whimsical folk art, and Mexican-themed outdoor “rooms,” including a cantina.

"I think I was one of the first to celebrate Day of the Dead in Austin, after having visited graveyards in Michoacán about 25 years ago,” Hutson says. Her communal altars have been a place for amigos to pay homage to someone they have lost, bringing a memory, a candle, a photo, or a dish that was dear to the deceased. “Day of the Dead is a way to remember our past, our heritage, our family. It’s truly a celebration of life and memory of those we love,” she says.

Her potent elixirs are another enticement. Hutson is a tequila expert (her latest book is Viva Tequila, published last year). She serves shots of her favorite spirit with her famous sangrita, a bloodred, nonalcoholic chaser that, she says, “simultaneously piques taste buds in an explosion of sweet, tart, sour, salty, and piquant flavors. I must admit it’s always the hit of the party.”

Sangrita La Lucinda

Makes about 24 shots

  • 4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups 100% natural pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup freshley squeezed lime juice, preferably from Mexican limes
  • 8-12 ounces commercially bottled Salsa Valentina or Salsa Tamazula
  • Salt, to taste

Combine ingredients and chill overnight or longer (it just gets better). Taste and adjust flavorings for balance. Sangrita keeps for more than a week refrigerated.


Photography by Thomas Winslow

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