Drink of the Week: La Paloma (Revisited)

La Paloma.This Thursday is Cinco de Mayo, and that’s as good an excuse as any to revisit what I’m guessing is the world’s second most popular tequila cocktail. Indeed, this year I’ve got an additional excuse, which is to give a plug to some work by a DOTW Manor resident and frequent cocktail tester. Seems this enterprising young director was a finalist in a contest being sponsored by one of your classier tequila manufacturers, Avion. Moreover, I found out not long after writing the original draft of this post that he actually won a Grand Prize. Good things can sometimes come to those who imbibe (with moderation) and work (to excess).

As luck would have it, I myself can be seen in one of Joseph Lao’s two spine-tingling faux trailers, this one demonstrating the construction of a high-end La Paloma. Moreover, the last time we dealt with that drink — some four years ago and, it seems, a lifetime away — I offered the more popular, but arguably less refined, take on the beverage. This time, we’re setting aside the Jarritos grapefruit soda, and very definitely the Squirt, and going for a somewhat healthier and arguably more satisfying version of a cocktail that deserves its place alongside many better-known drinks.

La Paloma

2 ounces white tequila (Avion Silver, if you’ve got it, I guess)
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup or about 2 1/2 teaspoons of superfine sugar
1 splash or two of club soda
1 lime web (desirable garnish)

This is one you build in a Tom Collins-type glass, though it might be good idea to pre-chill it as well in this case. Anyhow, just add all the liquid ingredients over ice and stir, and then add the lime wedge, which really does seem to improve the overall flavor.

*****

This post is kind of an outlier in that, while I’m using a recipe that was provided by the Avion marketing team, I was not actually personally provided with a free bottle of anything. I was, however, given liquid access to what I guess you could call a prop bottle of Avon Silver. Regardless, it is good stuff and did work slightly better in this recipe than another brand I tried. On the other hand, I wasn’t able to test this drink out on as many silver tequilas as I would have liked this week.

I will say that this version of the drink makes an interesting contrast with the more traditional grapefuit soda La Paloma. Depending on the flavor of your particular grapefruit, there is nearly as much bitterness here as if you were using an ingredient like Campari, which can definitely make for a more mature beverage, though I found it a bit sweet. If you lean towards more sour tastes, definitely consider reducing the sweetener, though I wasn’t in love with the results when I tried that, either. Sometimes, I’m just hard to please.

Finally, it’s time for me to suggest you check out the masterwork of advertising art below. At last, here is a cinematic work that gives the craft of the cocktail the dramatic weight it truly deserves.

  

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