OK, yes, we're halfway through November, and yes, this Polar Vortex 2.0 is doing everything in its power to remind us that winter — and the freezing temperatures that come with it — is right around the corner, but that just means that when you do get a little taste of summer, you have to hold onto it tight. And that's exactly what this "Lolita Squeeze" cocktail by 'Tacolicious' is — a refreshing, fruity reminder that even though the wind chill is dropping and the thermometer is plunging, warm weather is waiting for us at the end of this long, wintery marathon with open arms.
Even if we can't force the sunshine to come out and play with us this time of year, we can at least toast our glasses in its memory. Pair this tequila-based beverage with one of these other 'Tacolicious'- approved dishes, and you've got the perfect recipe for happiness on these dreary, dark days.
Lolita Squeeze Cocktail
Fresh watermelon juice is given the tequila treatment here for the ultimate refreshing cocktail. The juice is easy to make but doesn’t keep well, so make only as much as you can use within a day or so. The chile salt gives it a bit of a wake-up call, but you could skip it if you want something purely pretty in pink.
- Chile salt, for coating glass rim and flavoring
- 4 or 5 sprigs cilantro
- 2 ounces watermelon juice (see note below)
- 2 ounces 100 percent agave tequila, preferably blanco
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 ounce agave syrup (see note below)
Coat the rim of a 10-ounce tumbler with the salt, then fill the tumbler with ice. Put 3 or 4 of the cilantro sprigs and a pinch of the salt in a cocktail shaker and muddle together with a muddler or a wooden spoon. Fill the shaker with ice, add the watermelon juice, tequila, lime juice, and agave syrup and shake vigorously. Strain into the tumbler. Garnish with the remaining cilantro sprig and serve.
Fresh Watermelon Juice
To make the watermelon juice, scoop flesh from a ripe seedless watermelon, puree it in a blender until liquefied, and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than a day or two.
The agave plant is kind to us. Not only does it provide us with the base for tequila, but it also makes a perfectly natural sweetener called agave nectar, one that we use to enliven all of our cocktails. (We like Simple Agave brand, an all-natural raw product made from blue agave; available at simpleagave.com.) Agave nectar is incredibly sweet, so it must be mixed with equal parts water, in the same way that sugar and water are combined to make simple syrup. You can mix up just the amount of agave syrup you need for one drink, but it’s much easier to keep a bottle of diluted agave nectar on hand. That way, you’ll have the syrup ready to go when the party starts.
If you decide against mixing up a big batch, you can replace the 1 ounce agave syrup in any drink recipe with 1/2 ounce agave nectar mixed with 1/2 ounce warm water.
Makes 2 cups
- 1 cup agave nectar
- 1 cup warm water
Mix together and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass container with an airtight top. Store in the refrigerator. It should last indefinitely.
We like to rub rims with a lemon wedge before dipping them in this salt, which coats the rim of our el sangre cocktail, but it would also be great on our margarita picante or michelada.
Makes a scant 1/2 cup
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon chile powder
In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, paprika, cayenne, and chili powder, mixing well.
Reprinted with permission from Tacolicious, by Sara Deseran and Joe Hargrave, copyright © 2014, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.
Photographs copyright © 2014 by Alex Farnum