Happy belated Cinco de Mayo.
My exceptional tequila cocktail will make you look inventive and sophisticated to any guest(s).
It's a simple twist on the traditional Paloma with only three ingredients, all of which you can (and should) keep in the refrigerator at all times.
The Paloma is a Spanish tequila-based cocktail typically mixed with a sweet citrus soda. I use champagne instead which might make you think it too feminine, but don’t be fooled.
Champagne adds a natural sweetness that cuts the bitterness of tequila without completely concealing its rich flavor.
Until recently my only experience with tequila was a Tex-Mex margarita most often frozen with plenty of sweet & sour mix to completely conceal the taste of whatever bottom-shelf tequila was used. And the occasional bar tequila shot I quickly swallowed and immediately accompanied with a lime wedge to mitigate the burning assault on my esophagus.
Sipping tequila or mezcal never interested me until visiting Mexico several years after college Spring break in Acapulco.
I somewhat begrudgingly accepted a family-distilled tequila – neat, so as not to offend this Tulum restaurant owner – and sipped the complex spirit over the best grilled steak I’ve had to date, warmed by both the alcohol and the glowing candle light. The rich, spicy tequila flavor woven throughout the colorful and welcoming experience that is Mexico, needless to say, changed my opinion of this spirit.
Since I most recently visited Oaxaca, Mexico, I used mezcal I brought home.
I highly recommend using mezcal if you like smoky, vibrant flavor.
Stateside, I like to drink Ilegal Special Edition Mezcal Joven for it’s subtle smokiness and general availability.
Mix 1 shot Tequila with 1 shot lime juice and stir to combine. Slowly add sparkling to fill the glass. Serve and enjoy.
Make it fancy and garnish with a twist if you have any fresh citrus on hand (lime, lemon, orange or grapefruit). Peel a small piece of rind avoiding the white pith, twist peel over glass to release zest oils and drop into drink before serving.