The Paloma, said to be Mexico’s favorite tequila-based cocktail (photo © TasteCocktails.com).
September 16th is Mexican Independence Day. It’s also National Guacamole Day. Coincidence? We think not!
Yesterday, we explained how Mexicans celebrated with shots of Reposda tequila, aged for up to a year.
But what if you don’t like drinking straight tequila?
You can enjoy another tequila cocktail or a non-alcoholic Mexican drink. Here are some of the most popular, which can also be served for Cinco De Mayo:
You can have a plain Mexican beer, of course. Bohemia, Corona, Dos Equis and others are commonly found across the country.
But if you like a bit of heat, have a Michelada (mee-cha-LAH-dah), a traditional cerveza preparada, or beer cocktail.
Michelada is a combination of beer, lime and hot sauce served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass. Chela is Mexican slang for a cold beer, combined with mixto, referring to the the mix of ingredients added to the beer. Eliminate the hot sauce and you’ve got a Chelada.
Here’s the complete Michelada recipe.
This cocktail couldn’t be easier: 3 parts grapefruit soda and 1 part tequila, served over ice cubes in a highball glass, garnished with a lime wedge. You can add an optional salt rim.
And you can make it by the pitcher-ful, which we’ll be doing tonight.
Paloma is the Spanish word for dove. In Mexico the soft drink of choice is Jarritos brand grapefruit soda (in the U.S., look for it at international markets or substitute Fresca.
You can purchase pink grapefruit soda from the premium mixer brand Q Drinks, or combine grapefruit juice with club soda or grapefruit-flavored club soda.
At better establishments, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice is combined with club soda. Use pink grapefruit juice and you’ll have a Pink Paloma (our term for it).
Here’s the history of the Paloma from TasteCocktails.com, which says it’s the most popular tequila-based cocktail in Mexico:
PALOMA COCKTAIL HISTORY
Even though the most popular tequila-based cocktail in Mexico, the history of the Paloma is murky. There are two leading contenders:
RECIPE #3: BANDERA SHOTS
In Mexico, the Bandera (flag), named after the flag of Mexico, consists of three shot glasses representing the colors of the flag (photo #2).
The first is filled with lime juice (for the green), the middle has white (silver) tequila, and the last contains sangrita (for the red), a chaser that usually contains orange and tomato juices. Here’s the recipe from Food Network.
You can also make layered shooter with liqueurs in the national colors (photo #3). Here’s a recipe.
In Spanish, agua fresca means fresh water.
In culinary terms, it refers to a variety of refreshing cold drinks that are sold by street vendors and at cafés throughout Mexico and other Latin American countries (photo #4). They’re also sold bottled at stores, and are easily whipped up at home.
Agua fresca is non-alcoholic and non-carbonated. The recipe can include a combination of fruits or veggies, flowers (like hibiscus), herbs and/or spices, cereals (barley, oats, rice), seeds (chia), even almond flour (which is used to make horchata, the next example).
A traditional agua fresca is an infused, sweetened water, flavored with fruits and/or vegetables—often a more complex layering of flavors than lemonade and limeade.
Our favorite combinations: watermelon (or any melon), basil cucumber and mint hibiscus. Here’s how to make them.
As you can see from this recipe template, it’s easy to mix your favorite flavors.
Agua de horchata—horchata for short—is a very popular recipe, made from ground almonds and rice spiced with cinnamon (photo #5). Other flavors such as coconut can be added.
Here’s a recipe from Noshon.it.
It’s not conventional, but, you could add a shot of tequila or rum.
After all, it’s a day to celebrate!
 Whip up a pitcher of watermelon aqua fresca with this recipe from Whole Foods Markets.