Tag Archives: aqua riva

3 Paloma cocktails to restore your Faith in Tequila…

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If I had a £1/$1 for every time someone told me how much they dislike Tequila, I’d have retired and lived happily ever after in my grand-cabin the woodlands of Arizona.


As it is, I don’t get a single penny – which really does make it hard to listen too. Tequila has a bit of a bad rap and, whilst this is slowly being repaired by some of the artisan brands out there, it still needs a little helping hand to get people falling in love with it.

The biggest hurdle is that of the ‘cheap’ brands creating below-par tequila with shots and heavily mixed drinks the aim. To avoid any uneasy feelings by naming those brands, let’s just say anything less than 100% agave is considered by this blog to be ‘below par’.

The best way to get over the hurdles surrounding Tequila is to share the best ways to re-introduce yourself to this earthy and unique spirit. Tequila is, in my opinion, always a difficult spirit to simply sip. Whilst there are brands that specialise in ‘sipping’ quality tequilas, I am not a straight drinker and prefer my spirits lightly mixed into long summer-perfect drinks. Think about the Mule category for a snapshot of my preferences.

So, when it comes to tequila, what is the best way to mix it so you can really enjoy its complex flavour? Yes, there are literally hundreds of cocktails out there that contain tequila, some are classic (for good reason) and others are, at best, dreadful. All too often these ‘poorly created’ cocktails add to the stigma around the spirit.

The best way, by far, is the cocktail known as the Paloma. I’ve written a few posts that have included Paloma recipes before, and it is my favourite cocktail containing Tequila. A lot of people prefer a margarita but I find it to be a little savoury and have had far too many bad margaritas for my own liking.

All you need for a Paloma is 3 things: Tequila, Grapefruit Soda, and Lime.

There are more complex recipes out there, and the 3 recipes I want to share with you will show the differences between easy, medium, and difficult recipes.

The tequilas used are all high quality and whilst you can choose your own brands please try to make sure whatever Tequila you buy is 100% agave. Click here to find out why this is important.

Scroll down for the 3 recipes that I believe, will restore your faith in Tequila…

 

Easy – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Ocho Tequila

12.5m Lime Juice

125ml Grapefruit soda

Method:

  • Build the ingredients over ice in a tall Collins glass.
  • Top up with the grapefruit soda, swizzle and top with more ice.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge/wheel or some zest peelings.

 

Medium – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Aqua Riva Reposado Tequila

25ml grapefruit juice

15ml grapefruit syrup

Top up soda water

Method:

  • Combine the juice, syrup, and tequila in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Around 10-15 seconds should do it.
  • Strain into a tall ice-filled glass and top with the club soda.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel/wedge or a selection of zest peelings.

 

Difficult – Paloma

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Recipe:

50ml Patron Blanco Tequila

15 ml sugar syrup

15 ml fresh lime juice

25ml fresh grapefruit juice

Top up sparkling mineral water

1 lime wedge

Salt

1 lime wedge / zest peel, for garnish

 

Method:

  • Optional: Moisten the rim of a tall glass with a cut lime wedge and dip into a fine salt powder.
  • In an ice-filled shaker, combine the tequila, sugar syrup, fruit juices and shake well. For around 10-15 seconds – until the shaker tin ices over.
  • Strain into your ice-filled serving glass (the one you garnished with a salt rim earlier).
  • Top up with the mineral water and garnish with a lime wedge or zest peel.

Easy – This is a basic Paloma cocktail. Combining lime juice, tequila, and grapefruit soda; this cocktail is simple yet highly effective at giving you a new found liking for the quality tequila you use.

Medium – This is a slightly more difficult recipe in that it involves a home-made grapefruit sugar syrup (the recipe can be found here). This version of the Paloma is slightly heavier on the grapefruit’s bitterness but is counterbalanced by the sweetness of the sugar and dryness of the soda water. This cocktail brings together a rather more complicated version of a simplified cocktail and delivers a higher depth in flavour for a little extra work. This cocktail is, by far, full of more flavour than its simplified form.

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Difficult: This is where the Paloma cocktail really comes into its own. Once broken down into its many parts, this cocktail can become a thing of true magnificence. Combining a home-made sugar syrup with one of the best tequila’s on the market (not merely opinion, but fact) and by using sparkling mineral water [instead of soda water] this cocktail is elevated from simple pleasure to a true summer evening delight.

The difficult recipe is by far my favourite version of this cocktail [so far]. I love its increased flavour profile, the quality of the tequila is outstanding and to top it all off, the use of mineral water adds to the earthy feel of this long, sweet summer cocktail.

I hope this post has helped you resume your potential love affair with, tequila. Tequila truly is a stunning spirit that has so much to offer. It’s versatile and with so many high-quality brands now available, it would be blasphemous not to give it a second chance!

I trust these 3 Paloma recipes have restored your Faith in Tequila and with luck, you’ll be drinking a lot more of it in the future!

What’s your favourite Tequila cocktail? Do you have a preferred straight drinking tequila? Why not leave a comment below and help me spread the word: Tequila isn’t all bad!

The Long Way Around: Homemade syrup and a cocktail to boot!

So I just got paid, and I promised myself that I’d spend around £10-£20 on some quality fresh ingredients for some lovely little infused simple syrups; you know fresh rhubarb, quality oranges, some ripe figs etc…

Whether they’re used in cocktails or simply as an ice-cream topper is up to the consumer but I started with something I’ve been wanting to recreate for a long time…

The Grapefruit Simple Syrup

Recipe:

100g granulated sugar

100ml water

2 tbsp finely grated red-grapefruit zest

Method:

  • Combine the zest and sugar in a bowl and mix vigorously.
  • Combine with water in a tall sided saucepan.
  • Simmer on a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes, stirring well the entire time.
  • After around 10 minutes the sugar should have dissolved. If not leave for another 5 minutes.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, turn down to a low heat and leave to thicken a little.
  • Once thickened, remove from the heat and pour into a metal bowl. Cover and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes. Go away and enjoy a nice episode of your favourite TV show.
  • Once cooled, fine strain (using a muslin cloth if possible) the mixture to remove the grapefruit zest.
  • Funnel the liquid into the required amount of sterilised stopper bottles (see the picture above for the bottles I used).
  • Label and store in the fridge. If this is done right, it will keep for 1-3 weeks, although you should use it within 3-5 days after first opening. Tip: split high volumes up into smaller amounts so you don’t have to throw a lot away.

This syrup is a little bitter, but bursting with flavour. It really packs a grapefruit kick and is lovely on a dessert (ice-cream, rice pudding etc…), breakfast (porridge anyone?) and of course beverages including cocktails!!!

Here’s the reason I made this syrup in the first place; my long way around Paloma…

Long Way Around: Paloma

The Long Way Around Paloma... Tequila, with a twist...
The Long Way Around Paloma… Tequila, with a twist…

Recipe:

50ml Aqua Riva Reposado Tequila

25ml fresh grapefruit/orange juice

15ml Grapefruit infused simple syrup

Top up Soda Water

Method:

  • Build ingredients one by one in a tall, ice-filled, Collins glass.
  • Top up with the soda water and stir gently, to mix the ingredients.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge/slice and serve with a straw (or two).

For an added twist though why not try out a Cointreau Bomb: Using a mexican elbow; Squeeze the lime juice out of a lime half and then turn the lime the other way around and press the elbow together again. Tie the elbow and leave while you prepare the drink. Once the drink has been prepared the fun begins. Sit the now ‘hollowed-out’ lime half on top of your drink and fill with Cointreau.

Just before drinking push the lime half under and then enjoy…

Ingredients, Left to Right: Lime Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Aqua Riva Tequila, Cointreau, Soda Water, Fresh Grapefruit & Grapefruit infused Syrup.
Ingredients, Left to Right: Lime Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Aqua Riva Tequila, Cointreau, Soda Water, Fresh Grapefruit & Grapefruit infused Syrup.

This ‘long-way-around’ version of a great tequila cocktail is a little more bitter than it’s more simple cousin but it’s also got a greater depth in flavour and allows the drink to come across a little fresher.

I also think that creating a drink like this also adds the sophistication that using canned grapefruit soda removes. A classy little cocktail made In a loving, yet sophisticated way.

Not to mention the self-satisfaction you’ll get from creating your own infused simple syrup!

Give both of these recipes a go and let me know what you think, if you’re feeling a like a party try comparing this version of the Paloma to one made with grapefruit soda and see which you prefer…

Cocktails O’ Clock: Wild Mexican Mule (Margarita)

It’s alive! ALIVE I TELL YOU!

OK, so that may be a little dramatic, but this cocktail came to me recently in a vision I can only describe as genius… Combining two great Tequila based drinks (the Tequila highball & Margarita) this cocktail creates a balanced Mexican themed cocktail with a crisp finish to it.

There are those out there who will be sick at the prospect of changing a margarita so much and still use the name, and to them I say only this: Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…

Recipe:

1.5m Tequila

1m Fresh Lime Juice

½ measure Cointreau

Top up Ginger Ale

2 barspoons Cherry Brandy

7 drops Angostura Bitters

Garnish: Fresh Cherry, lime wedge & sugar rimmed glass…

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Made by me, photographed by me, enjoyed by me… The Wild Mexican Mule…

Method:

1)      Using the lime wedge, wipe the rim of the glass and dip in sugar. Place the cherry on the rim (leave the stem on and have it lean away from the glass.

2)      Fill the glass with ice.

3)      In a shaker combine the tequila, lime and Cointreau.

4)      Shake well over ice and double strain into the glass.

5)      Top up with ginger ale.

6)      Garnish (finally) with the Angostura and cherry brandy.

The brandy should drift gently to the bottom of the glass, but should also pull the Angostura down with it, creating a cascading effect.  The sweetness in this drink comes from both the Cointreau and cherry brandy, but what really sets it apart is that it’s lengthened by the ginger ale, adding a slight spice to the drink, not to mention the Angostura weighing in with its trademark flavour.

This drink is a great little fusion that may not win all of you over but try it with your favourite brand of ginger ale and try different cherry liqueurs (or even take out the cherry and try an actual brandy instead, either way that’s the bit that adds the richness to drink).

Hopefully you like this cocktail as much as I do, leave a comment should you have any about it.

Until next time here’s a little something:

Fervent Shaker Fact of the Day:

There is a significant different between Fresh Lime Juice and Lime Juice Syrup. The fresh lime juice is always freshly squeezed from the fruit (the fresher the better). Whereas the syrup is a blend of water, juice and sugar (kind of like a lime flavoured sugar syrup). The best known brand of lime juice syrup is ‘Roses’ and is popular both here in the UK and across the pond in the USA.