If you were to take a pop quiz on mixed drinks, the average cocktail enthusiast would be able to rattle off at least a half-dozen gin libations; ditto for rum, and quite possibly for whiskey.
Tequila? Not so much. Go ahead and take a point for the Margarita—that's an easy one; and then there's the Tequila Sunrise, with its aura of floral shirts and Jimmy Buffett. Dedicated mixologists may cite the cassis-laden goodness of the Diablo, while others may guiltily offer up a Freddie Fudpucker or a Long Island Iced Tea. It's OK; we've all been there at one time.
To this small list, add a delightful contribution to the summer-satisfaction arsenal: the Paloma. Commonly found in regions where tequila is produced as well as consumed, the Paloma seems deceptively simple. In truth, this drink manages to cover the bases when it comes to flavor receptors, and its lively taste and gentle effervescence make it a great seasonal refresher. You may have to hunt down one of the ingredients (depending on your proximity to the nearest bodega), but trust me--you'll find more happiness with the Paloma than with any drink named Freddie.
- Yield:makes 1 cocktail
- 2 ounces reposado tequila (be sure to use only 100 percent agave tequila)
- The juice of 1/2 a lime
- Pinch of coarse salt
- The spent lime shell, for garnish
- Grapefruit soda
Fill a 10-ounce Collins glass with ice, and add: reposado tequila, lime juice, and pinch of coarse salt.
Top with grapefruit soda. Jarritos, from Mexico, works very well, but you can also try the Jamaican brand Ting. If you can’t find a suitable grapefruit soda, use Sprite or the like, and add a squirt of fresh grapefruit juice.