2-3 ounces 100 % agave tequila (I used 1800 Reposado)
.5 -.75 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
Grapefruit soda (another Mexican invention)
1-2 pinches of salt
1 lime slice
Fill a Collins glass with ice, add Tequila, Lime juice and salt, top off with Grapefruit soda and garnish with a lime slice. Viola you are done!
For decades I have had an aversion to tequila. The very smell of it would make me shiver as foggy memories of youthful over indulgence clawed at my mind. The night of "Thirteen Golden Margaritas" broke any and all desire to even even look at the stuff, and to this day, if asked "would you like a margarita Al?" I always say; "No, make mine a Bushmills."
Yet, as I have been on this journey of cocktail discovery, and have learned so much about various spirits and their attributes, I just had to give this national treasure from Mexico another look. What I found should be no shock to anyone, and that is; tequila has levels of quality just like every other distilled spirit out there. Without going too far into the various types of tequila, that would take ages to get through, and to be honest I doubt too many of you care, I will touch upon the single most important point.
This spirit has had something of a bad rap associated with it. Usually upon mention, one thinks of Frat boys doing shots of Jose Quervo shouting at the top of their lungs. Or an evil coven of middle aged housewives mixing up a "pitcher of Margs" as they formulate plans to take over the local PTA and ban books from the library. Lastly let us not forget, that rather famous episode with Mel Gibson, where he spewed forth an Anti-Semetic rant at a police officer after being pulled over. It seems Mel was a bit in his cups at the time and there was a bottle of tequila in the seat next to him.
Jose Quervo, the most commonly known brand in the US, is what is called a "Mixto". Which is a tequila made with 51% blue and 49% of whatever other agave the distiller has available. Essentially it meets the bare minimum of requirements to carry the name. Fear not though, for brands that are 100% agave are available here in the states, Patron being the most well known. These are usually much more expensive than Mixtos, but in my humble opinion worth the cost. A tequila cannot claim 100% status without approval of their government, as such if you find a brand that says it is check the bottle over to find "product of Mexico" printed on it somewhere etc.
As I have said over and over again use quality spirits and you won't be disappointed, and in this case it is a necessity.
The La Paloma may be a very simple drink to make, however the complexity of blended flavors is anything but. The salt and citrus come in first along with a bit of fizz from the soda, after which the tequila rolls up softly on the tongue completing the experience. I recommend this highly for anyone who wishes to safely experience tequila again. You will be pleasantly surprised and if not, well you can donate your bottle to me to experiment with. Just make sure it's 100 % Agave before you try.