Mexico (maybe 1920s, hard to tell)
You might be surprised to learn Mexico’s most popular tequila cocktail is not the Margarita. What works best in triple-digit heat turns out to be something tall, icy, a little sweet, a little sour, a tiny bit salty, even a touch bitter to keep it dry – a delicious combo called “La Paloma” (Dove). Tequila and grapefruit soda with a squeeze of lime, plus a pinch of salt in the drink before you shake that does double-duty: boosting the various flavors and unifying the ice and liquid in a pleasant slush. Yes, you could substitute the grapefruit soda for fresh grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and seltzer… but if you can hunt down Jarritos Toronja soda at your local Mexican market, you’ll get extra points for authenticity (and a better-tasting drink, to boot). Squirt works as an I-guess-so substitute.
Now, if you’re a die-hard and can wait six weeks, get some good-quality reposado tequila, three pints of ripe, sweet, organic strawberries, and let ‘em steep together… make a Paloma with this Tequila por mi Amante as relayed to me by Paul Clarke & Chuck Taggart (recipe follows), and this drink goes straight into orbit.
Hardware: Shaker, Jigger, Straw (optional), Hawthorne strainer (if using Boston shaker)
Ice: Ice cubes, Cracked ice
Glassware: Collins glass
Spirit: Tequila (plata or reposado, recommended: El Jimador, Espolón)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Grapefruit soda (recommended: Jarritos Toronja)
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Lime juice, Salt, Lime wheel
In a shaker about a third-full with ice cubes, add:
2 oz tequila
1/2 oz lime juice
1 pinch salt
Shake briefly to blend and chill, then strain into a Collins glass filled about two-thirds of the way up with cracked ice. Top with:
3 oz grapefruit soda
Stir lightly to blend and garnish with a lime wheel. Optionally, serve with a straw.
TEQUILA POR MI AMANTE
In an airtight container, combine 1 750 ml bottle reposado tequila with 3 pints ripe, organic, strawberries that have been washed and hulled (large ones sliced in half). Reserve the empty tequila bottle. Seal the container and allow to steep in the refrigerator three weeks, gently agitating occasionally. After three weeks, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and cheesecloth into the reserved tequila bottle and return to the refrigerator an additional three weeks to mellow. Strain through cheesecloth to filter out any coagulated natural pectin from the strawberries. Keep refrigerated afterward.