Dump The Margarita: The Paloma Is Your New Summer Drinky

The Lime Is Half Full
I see you’ve got a margarita there.

Lovely drink, the margarita.

*urinates in your glass*

NOW YOU’RE DONE WITH IT.

Ew, what are you doing? Why are you still trying to drink it?

*bats it out of your hand*

Listen. Listen. It’s okay. I’m going to help you drink something better. Because that’s my job — to take the somewhat mediocre poop-squat of a life you are currently experiencing and gussy it up so that before death claims your dumb body, you get to possess a few crucial moments of actual happiness. I mean, remember when I was like, YO THE COFFEE YOU’RE DRINKING IS BASICALLY SWILL RUN THROUGH THE INTESTINAL TRACT OF A SICKENED MUSKRAT and you were like, no way, nuh-uh, except then you did what I said and suddenly you were all like, WHOA-DANG TELL ME MORE, COFFEE WIZARD?

This is like that.

Okay, so, first things first, let’s talk about a couple things.

First, my recipe for the Paloma probably ensures that it’s not actually a Paloma anymore, but hey, fuck it, whatever. I am merely an amateur boozeologist; I do not hold a proper doctorate. Besides, when I was testing out making this lovely drink, none of the actual recipes seemed to agree anyway. Grapefruit soda? Grapefruit juice? Fresh-squozen? Or not? Meh. Meh, I tell you, meh. Screw the authenticity factor. High-five to the THIS SHIT IS DELICIOUS factor.

Second, I am not actually well-tested in the ways of tequila. I’m only starting to dip my toes into those agave waters — and some recipes here can’t agree on whether it’s the blanco or reposado variants. This is in a mixer, and needs to play well with other flavors — further, you’re not sipping it all by its lonesome so you (to my mind) don’t need top-shelf for this. Go to your store, find something in the middle price range, and buy it. I quite like the Siembra Azul Blanco. But really, it doesn’t matter, because my real recommendation is that you scrap tequila for this and instead go with its smoky, surly cousin: motherfucking mezcal.

Mezcal is basically the Lagavulin of tequilas (except, shut up, it’s not actually tequila). It’s made from maguey. They roast that shit underground, and whilst there, the Devil rises up from within the heat-blasted earth and gives it a little kiss, which is why it tastes like smoke and Satan’s love.

Mezcal is basically amazing.

(Note: it is different from mescaline, as well, which also comes from a cactus but is less a beverage and more a thing you take in order to fight jaguar gods and commune with machine-elves in the desert. Your mileage may vary.)

If you want to try mezcal, find this stuff: Ilegal Mezcal Joven.

Avoid shit with “the worm” in it, because the worm is probably just some dumb touristy thing and besides, it’s added after production anyway and sometimes the worm is actually alive and will eat holes in your bowels and set up a silken tent inside your hollowed-out chest cavity and give birth to a thousand more like it, and they will sing a song that summons those you love and soon the squirming worms will hollow them out, too, and then everyone you know will be reproductive puppets for these insidious, drunken parasites.

(Note: I may have imagined that story while high on mescaline.)

Anyway. Onto the drink.

Here’s what you’re gonna do.

Get a highball glass. Salt the rim. (Sounds like a fancy sex move. Something with buttholes?)

Get a shaker.

Into the glass goes:

1/3 cup of mezcal or tequila.

Into the shaker goes:

1/3 cup of grapefruit juice, either freshly squozen or, y’know, from a bottle.

The juice of one-half a lime.

A teaspoon of sugar or simple syrup.

Ice.

Shake the shaker. Shake it like your Momma gave ya. (Wait, shake it like your Momma gave you what? The DTs? Epilepsy? Mescaline? Inquiring minds wanna know.)

Pour what you done shook into the highball glass.

Throw in a few more ice cubes.

Top with — and here is where I differ with a lot of recipes — tonic water. A good, bitter, botanical tonic. (Fevertree is nice. Pro-tip: if it has high fructose corn syrup in it, it’s probably a bottle of garbage — that’s regardless of your feelings about HFCS, but frequently that as an ingredient is a sign of inferior deliciousness.) You won’t need to add much, really just a splash — no more than 1/4 cup at the end of the day. Gives it a little fizz and the botanicals lend it a bit of depth. A lot of recipes say “club soda,” or instead eschew juice and club soda and combine into “grapefruit soda,” but hell with it, I like the juice combo.

Now, drink ten of these.

You’re welcome.

(Variant additives might include: grapefruit bitters, grenadine, the tears of La Llorona.)

Now: share your own cocktail recipes.

DO SO NOW.

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A reminder that if you dig this kinda thing, a whole buncha authors (LIKE ME) have gotten together and formed a church — er, “church” — the HOLY TACO CHURCH where we discuss food and booze and books and foodie boozy books and bookish boozy foods and books about booze foods or whatever. You can go there, subscribe to the newsletter, check out the blog DO SO NOW OR I WILL TELL THE MEZCAL WORMS TO HUNT YOU FOR YOUR FLESH.)

Go and be delicious, tacolytes.