Monday, June 22, 2009

La Paloma: The Peoples' Margarita

Guadalajara, Mexico

Corresponding from Mexico pretty much secures me the title of Expert Taco and Tequila Taster. I do not want to take this honor lightly, so I promise to continue thorough and rigorous research in regards to both. I have just weaned Oscar from the boob and I am particularly partial to tequila research these days. A guilt-free tequila cocktail is soooo much more refreshing and delicious than an I-am-a-terrible-mother-selfishly-killing-my-baby’s-developing-brain-cells-for-my-alcoholic-indulgence cocktail. Not to mention, Carter owes me months worth of mornings where I lay in the bed, groaning, and regretting bad choices from the night before without the very early chipper companionship of a certain one-year old, whose sole purpose at that time is to remind me of my dwindling youth.

I have found assimilation into a new culture is most easily accomplished by drinking the locally brewed paint thinner. Acceptance comes even quicker in countries where the beverage is rumored to cause blindness. Pouring it down your throat with the locals is a sure and quick way to break through any language barrier and get yourself a marriage proposal from the village chief. Really, it is not because I am a lush, but because I am a self-proclaimed food and beverage anthropologist that I have acquired the taste for cloudy fermented liquids sold out of sketchy backdoor kitchens down muddy unmarked alleys. Iraque from India and Indonesia, rakki from Turkey, German coffee (no relation to the bean) and powers from Malawi, gifiti from Honduras, lao lao from Loas, have all helped to provided unique glimpses into the respective palm/rice/garbage fermenting cultures.

Fortunately for my aging liver, I have not found the bathtub gin of Mexico. Glass bottles with proper labels and sealed caps are all promising factors when choosing my gut rot of choice these days. Tequila is el rey around here, and the drink is la paloma. The paloma is the peoples’ margarita. It strips the margarita down to the bare-bones: alcohol, fizzy syrupy liquid, acid, salt, enjoy. You will never see leather-skinned men with sweat stained sombreros lounging at the edge of a field after a hard days labor mixing up a pitcher of margaritas, carefully salting the rims of their glass-blown margarita glasses – no way. However, the paloma, on the other hand, is toasted across the land. A crude, and often preferred version, is to take a haul off of a tequila bottle, then a sip from a two liter bottle of squirt and gulp! No glass required. However, if you are one for such frills as glasses and ice, the following recipe should send you on your way to chumming up with the locals on your next trip to Mexico. Leave the margaritas to the package vacationers and saddle up at the cantina with the peoples’ margarita.

LA PALOMA (translates to “the dove” in English)

1 glass with ice
1 healthy pour of tequila
Squirt filled to the rim
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 wedge of lime, squeezed with love


  1. Paloma's are indeed delicious.. However, after making them here in San Francisco, we concluded that they just taste better south of the border. But... I think if we carefully follow this recipe, we'll be happy with the result!

  2. Hey Ash, it's Emma Onions here. Love the idea of mixing that cocktail in the mouth - glasses are so overrated.

    Of course Powers never needed any companion - other than a water bottle to hide it from the bar folk.

    Great blog!

  3. Unfortunatly, Squirt is really hard to find in NYC. We've been improvising with Fresca. It was a huge hit on poker night and the word is out on the Paloma in NYC! Not bad.... not bad at all........