Submitted by Anjie and Aysia Villalobos
This smoky mezcal paloma with the spicy-sweet Mexican condiment chamoy was a surprise gift for one of our favorite cocineras Anjie Villalobos. One Sunday morning, the doorbell rang, says Anjie, and there stood her oldest daughter, Aysia, holding a glass jar filled with the beautiful pale-pink cocktail.
Aysia knew her mother would love it, and Anjie did.
So much so, Anjie says she’s “been on a paloma wave” ever since.
”I was having a friend over for lunch that Sunday and was asking Aysia about the recipe to make this. She was texting me how and I was getting a little confused. So she ended up whipping it up in a jar and brought it over.”
Anjie had never had a paloma made with mezcal before. It was love at first sip, because palomas are ”sweet—but not too sweet. And the smokiness of mezcal.”
When making this cocktail, Aysia first rims the glass with a mix of chamoy, an orangey-red condiment popular in Mexico (think: spicy-chile ketchup), and tajín. Chamoy is made with dried chiles, lime, salt, sugar and pickled fruit. It adds a colorful kick to many Mexican dishes, and you’ll often see it drizzled over fruits and vegetables like fresh-cut mango and jícama.
”It was perfect,” says Anjie of the day Aysia brought over the homemade palomas. ”I was having a girlfriend over for brunch, and we had made huevos rancheros. We finished it off with palomas. It was delicious.”
”Palomas Are Kind of New to Me”
Blame Santa Fe. Anjie tasted her first-ever paloma earlier this year, when she and her mother, Zelma, took a trip to New Mexico. Zelma grew up there and her mother’s family goes back many generations, since they arrived in the southwestern U.S. state from Spain in the 16th century.
”Mom and I were visiting Santa Fe, and we happened upon this beautiful hotel with a restaurant. We started perusing the drinks menu and saw they had this thing called a paloma on the menu. It was new to me and her—although I‘ve since learned it’s a hip, happening drink. My mom and I are like, ‘Let’s try it.‘”
”And we loved it,” reports Anjie.
”Palomas are kind of new to me,” she adds. ”Mom and I came home and we were going on and on about this drink, and my daughter Aysia is like, ’Oh my gosh, Mom, how have you not heard of a paloma before?’ She told me about her recipe, which uses mezcal, and then she brought it over for me. I love hers even more.
”Ever since I have been all about the palomas,” Anjie smiles.
Is it safe to assume this paloma is an official addition to the Villalobos list of favorite recipes? (Note: the bar is high on what makes a recipe family-famous in their family. Anjie is one of the best Mexican-food cooks we know.)
”Oh, yes,” says Anjie. ”I love it. In fact, I just went to the store to buy mezcal to get ready to make a new batch. I always have grapefruit juice in my fridge. It is just so good.”
We recommend serving this mezcal paloma with Anjie’s family-famous guacamole. And if you are really hungry, her garlicky shrimp tacos and carne asado tacos, both made with homemade tortillas (see Anjie’s step-by-step instructions here). For more of their favorite family recipes, check out Anjie’s avocado serrano salsa, refried beans or frijoles de olla, tacos de papa and rajas, and fill-you-up green chile chicken pozole.
Thirsty for a Smoky Mezcal Paloma With Chamoy?
Photos: Michelle Ezratty Murphy