Kari Winter PalomaI was recently looking through a magazine when I came across an article on the new “it” cocktail. I’m not known for passing up a drink, so my interest was instantly piqued. Apparently (if you trust the people at Bon Appetit), the cocktail of the year is the Paloma. Wait a minute… how can the cocktail of the year be something I’ve never heard of? Well, that was that — time to investigate.

All in the name of journalism, of course.

If you like a margarita, chances are you’re going to like the Paloma. It has that same ‘sweet and tart’ thing going on, and most sources say it is the most popular tequila cocktail in Mexico. Tequila and either grapefruit juice or grapefruit flavored soda (like Fresca), are poured over ice and stirred. Some people play around with the recipe by adding club soda and/or fresh squeezed lime juice. And just as with a margarita, you can chose to have salt on the rim of your glass.

If you’re looking to enjoy a Paloma out, Elaine’s makes a very good one. Panzanella makes something they call a Grapefuit Margarita, which has tequila, Cointreau, grapefruit juice and is served on the rocks with a salted rim. Glasshalfull serves a Glasshound made of grapefruit juice and vodka, but they’d be more than happy to substitute tequila for the vodka if asked. They also make another good sounding tequila drink called a Margarita Picante. It features tequila with freshly squeezed citrus juices and a jigger of blackberry puree energized with a few drops of habanero sauce in an old fashion glass with a salted rim, adding a nice zing. Lucha Tigre makes a version using the traditional grapefruit soda from Mexico. Crooks Corner doesn’t have it on their drink menu, but if you tell the bartender what is in it, he or she will be happy to make it for you.

Now that the weather is so nice, it’s a great idea to make up a pitcher of Palomas and invite friends over for drinks on the porch. To soak up all that tequila, how about tortilla chips and some homemade Roasted Tomatillo Salsa? This takes almost no time at all to put together, and makes a huge amount. You’ll be glad you have extra — it is wonderful on eggs or with any Tex-Mex food you have. And of course, it is great simply eaten with chips. Don’t be afraid of the tomatillos if you’ve never cooked with them before; they’re actually really easy to use.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (from Gourmet Today)

2-3 serrano peppers

4 garlic cloves (don’t peel)

2 pounds tomatillos, husked and rinsed under warm water

¾ cup cilantro

2 onions, coarsely chopped

2 ½ teaspoons salt

Preheat the broiler. Put chiles, garlic and tomatillos on a rack on the broiler pan (you can also roast at 500 if you don’t want to broil) and broil or roast, turning each vegetable once or twice, until softened and partially charred. This takes about 8 minutes.

Peel the garlic (this will be very easy to do once it is roasted), get rid of the stem of the chiles. Puree these vegetables with the remaining ingredients (it might take two batches – or you can use your immersion blender in a big bowl) until almost smooth.

I think my next trip to the grocery store is going to involve some Fresca, tomatillos and tortilla chips. And then I’ll sit and enjoy ma-ma-ma-ma my Paloma (apologies for the earworm I may have just put in your head!).

Feature Photo by alexanderljung via flickr