HOW I CELEBRATE MORE: THE PALOMA PICANTE

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Chris Kotoun

A few years ago, my family and I went on vacation to the Yucatan Peninsula, where we learned the art of relaxing beachside. This trip opened my eyes to lots of new food, Mayan history and some new cocktails that seemed to make the intense summer sun way more tolerable. My favorite of those and one that we enjoy at home is the Paloma Picante. This is a modification of the classic Paloma that uses peppers to balance the sweetness in the agave nectar and grapefruit juice.

The key to making this summertime specialty is using fresh ingredients. At home, we have a small vegetable garden where I love to grow many different vegetables, fruits and herbs. For our Paloma Picante, we’ll be using 2 different peppers: jalapeño and cayenne.

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Tequila:

Since we’re using the best natural and fresh ingredients for our Paloma Picante, we need to grab a high-quality tequila from Colonial. We’ve decided to use Siembra Valles, Blanco ($41.99 for 750ml).  The proprietor of the Siembra Valles distillery, David Suro, is on a quest to make some of the best estate-grown tequila from the mineral-rich Valle region of Jalisco.

Sweetener:

A must have for every home bar (or kitchen for that matter) is a bottle of agave nectar; this natural sweetener is great anywhere you might use sugar. In Colonial’s mixer section, we have Tres Agaves Organic Agave Nectar ($10.49 for 750ml) and this gluten-free option is sure to become your favorite sweetener.

Mixer:

While you are in our mixer section, pick up your Fever-Tree club soda. This great soda from the UK is made with soft spring water and has lasting carbonation. Choose between 16.9 oz. bomber for $4.49 or a 4-pack of small bottles for $7.49.

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RECIPE: The Paloma Picante

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 TBSP. Tres Agaves agave nectar
  • 3 fresh jalapeños, sliced
  • 4 oz. tequila
  • 1 ½ cup (from 5 ruby red grapefruits) fresh grapefruit juice, strained and pulp discarded
  • 1 lime
  • Fever-Tree club soda
  • 2 TBSP. cane sugar
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 red cayenne pepper (to spear and use as garnish)

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, mix together the water, agave nectar and jalapeños. Cook on medium-low until the agave is dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding the jalapeños (or save for garnish), and set aside this spicy simple syrup.
  2. In a saucer, mix the cane sugar and sea salt. Rim four cocktail glasses with a little agave nectar and dip the rim in the sugar/salt mixture. Drop a few ice cubes into the rimmed cocktail glass. Add an ounce of tequila, an ounce of spicy simple syrup, 3 ounces of grapefruit juice, a squeeze of lime juice and a splash of club soda; mix and garnish with a red cayenne pepper. Repeat until the remaining 3 cocktails are made.

All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price. Products and prices are subject to change.