One legend of this recipe's origin points to a pamphlet, "Popular Cocktails of the Rio Grande"—which doesn't turn up in any collections or databases—and to the legendary Don Javier Delgado Corona of La Capilla Bar in the town of Tequila, who's famous for creating a similar cocktail called La Batanga (prepared with cola)—but who has denied authorship.
My first exposure to this recipe was in David Wondrich's artsy flip book Killer Cocktails from 2005, around the time bartenders throughout the United States started incorporating tequila cocktails other than the Margarita onto their menus. Neither the combinations of ingredients not the name appears in any recipe guides before this, despite Squirt's being imported to Mexico in 1955 and the maker's claim, on their website, that it became popular as a mixer in cocktails like the Paloma in the 1950s. According to Wondrich, "In the 1940's, you start seeing references in Mexico to 'changuirongo,' which is simply tequila cut with soda—any kind from ginger ale to Coke to whatever." He sent me a Squirt advertisement from 1977 that proclaims, "Squirt makes your favorite tequila zippy, zesty, and a little zany" with no mention of this being a Paloma.
3 oz. Squirt
2 oz. Siete Leguas reposado tequila
0.5 oz. lime juice
Garnish: 1/2 Grapefruit wheel
Build in a chilled kosher salt-rimmed tumbler, then add ice. Garnish with the 1/2 grapefruit wheel.
The original recipe is garnished with a lime, but a grapefruit wedge is a logical substitution. Compound spice rims—incorporating citrus, chile, or sal gusano—are all within scope, as is adding a little fresh grapefruit juice to the mixture. Preparing the recipe with juice in place of the soda yields a similar cocktail called the Cantarito. Blanco tequilas make delicious Palomas, and the grapefruit soda is up to you. Look for the cane sugar-sweetened Mexican Squirt or a fruity alternative from Ting or Jarritos.
Photography by Doran Gild Photography
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Reprinted from Meehan's Bartender Manual with permission by Ten Speed Press
Jim Meehan is a bartender, journalist, and author of The PDT Cocktail Book and Meehan’s Bartender Manual, has worked in nearly every capacity of the hospitality business for the latter half his of his 40 years on the planet.
A Chicago area native schooled in Wisconsin, who achieved acclaim for his work behind bars in New York City; he now spends almost as much time on the road at trade shows and trainings as at home in Portland, Oregon.
Jim’s passion for service, quest for further knowledge, belief in the transformative power of hospitality, and commitment to mentor the industries next generation is only divided by his duties as a proud father and devoted husband.