Ask anyone what the most popular drink in Mexico is and 99 out of 100 answers will be the margarita. That’s fine and it is a truly incredible and storied cocktail. I can’t wait to tackle that classic in a future issue. But, for now and on the heels of Cinco de Mayo, let’s mix up an adult beverage, even more popular and indigenous to this country: La Paloma.
Its base is, of course…. Tequila…. Is everyone still with me? I know the very mention of the word makes many of you throw up in your mouth just a little bit. It rushes in memories of dorm parties, salt shakers, lime wedges and ½ gallon bottles of clear, vile tasting swill that cost less than the donkey bladder used to filter it. Sure, I’ve been there. What self-respecting booze-hound hasn’t? But we’re men now. We’ve grown up. File those memories away with your other mistakes and let’s embrace this incredibly delicious and versatile spirit for the ambrosia that it is.
Unlike last issue’s Daiquiri, not much is known about the origins of this drink. But legend has it that, after a hard day of toiling under the Mexican sun, an agave farmer was enjoying a glass of tequila when suddenly a dove (la Paloma, in Spanish) landed on the table near him and dropped a rind of a grapefruit. Sensing it was a sign from Dios, he squeezed the oils from the skin into the glass and the Paloma was born.
Now, tequila comes in a few varieties; Blanco, Reposado and Anejo. The difference being in the style and length of aging. For this drink, use a good Reposado… trust me.
La Paloma Classico
- 1.5 oz tequila Reposado
- .5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice (approx. ½ a lime)
- Grapefruit soda to fill (Fresca, Squirt, or, if you can find it, Jarritos, from Mexico)
- Build all of the ingredients over ice in a tall, salt rimmed Collins glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Couldn’t get any easier, right? Believe me, I’ve enjoyed this drink for years, as is, but I’ve also messed around with it a little bit. So, for your next fiesta, impress your senortia with my version:
La Innocent Paloma
- 1.5 oz tequila reposado
- .75 oz elderflower liqueur
- .5 oz lime juice
- Grapefruit soda to fill
- Build all in a tall Collins glass rimmed with a mixture of chili powder and salt (50/50) and garnish with a lime wedge
Hold on to your sombreros, amigos. This blend of citrus, spice and sweetness will instantly transport you to a powder white sand beach on the Riviera Maya. Check out the bikinis and enjoy!