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"People are really into spicy, savory drinks, but there's not a lot to be found in terms of historical spicy drinks, so we took a classic and added to it," says Meaghan Dorman, head bartender of Raines Law Room in New York's Flatiron District, of the Garden Paloma.
Dorman layers in spice and earth to the Paloma—a Mexican standby made with grapefruit, soda (or grapefruit soda) and tequila—by way of jalapeño agave syrup and celery bitters, which pick up the vegetal flavors in good tequila.
The Garden Paloma is the least fiery of the menu's current "Hint of Spice" section (the menu changes about every six weeks). Still, the heat is both present, and essential to the drink. Her scientific method for determining that the spicy syrup is ready? "When it makes my lips tingle, it's right. It stands up in the drink without overwhelming."
Add blanco tequila—Dorman likes The 86 Company's here for its peppery undertone—fresh grapefruit and lime juice, plus a top-off of soda, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a slice of lime, and you have one refreshing cocktail. There's just enough heat to prevent you from tossing it back too quickly.