ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE PALOMA Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Thanks in part to the clever beer marketers who long ago turned the little-known-and-rarely-celebrated-outside-of-Puebla Cinco de Mayo holiday into an annual north-of-the-border phenomenon, one can forgive most people who assume that the Margarita is Mexico’s national cocktail.

Like most peoples, except for maybe the French and the Italians, Mexico’s national drink of choice is most likely beer, which always makes a rich, spicy dish go down a lot smoother. But the country, as we also know, is the world’s sole producer of tequila, and when it comes to tequila, Mexicans tend to pass on the Margarita and order up a Paloma instead.

And the Paloma is about as simple as they come: generally, it’s tequila mixed with either grapefruit-flavored Squirt or Jarritos. In fact, it’s just ice, and those two ingredients, kinda like a rum and coke.

But since we make our own grapefruit-flavored soda (which we sweeten with just a taste of honey), we figured why not make our own Paloma?

So we in with the ice and the housemade soda one shot of El Charro Silver Tequila, distilled from the syrup of hand-harvested, pure blue agave plants, grown in the red hills of Jalisco. And to give it a literal twist, we garnish it with a skewered flower-shaped candied grapefruit rind.

Still, Cinco de Mayo is months and months away. So far away, in fact, that you’re going to plenty of time to practice the lines that will no doubt impress your friends or your date when you ultimately choose to skip the rather common Margarita and opt instead for Mexico’s true national cocktail: a nice, ice-cold Paloma.

But in the meantime, why not get a head start by practicing your lines now in between sips?