Last Friday, my neighbor Sandra had me over for dinner. When I arrived through the back porch, I followed a whirring sound into the kitchen, where I found Sandra standing in front of her blender with Julia Turshen’s Small Victories ($24; amazon.com) beside her, the page open to a recipe for "Paloma Slushies." Yes, I thought. But also: trouble. Long story short, by the end of the night, Sandra and I had polished off the serves-four batch of the tequila cocktail, and at one point, I told her I loved bulldozers, as I pet her bulldog, who sat by my feet. Cheers.
When I awoke from my tequila blur the following morning, I had so many questions. Namely, what other gaffs had I made? And what is a Paloma Slushie and where has it been my whole life? I made the trek back across the lawn to retrieve my copy of Small Victories, which Sandra, understandably, had trouble returning.
I soon learned that a paloma is similar to a margarita, but includes grapefruit juice. Julia’s version lends itself to large-batch mixing. The trick? Instead of juicing limes, you peel them and blitz them whole in a blender. Brilliant! And instead of salting the rims of glasses, you add salt directly to the mix, which Julia notes serves two purposes:
1. Reduces work
2. Enhances the flavor of the grapefruit and lime juices. It's genius.
As I read through Julia’s variations for pomegranate juice, hibiscus tea, and blood orange juice, I wondered: “Could I replace the grapefruit juice with something more summery? Could I make red, white, and blue Paloma slushies for the Fourth?” In the name of research, I broke out my blender and the tequila and set to work peeling limes, hulling strawberries, and stemming blueberries. My boozy, patriotic slushies came together in no time, and while the hue of each didn’t perfectly emerge as envisioned, each cocktail was festive and delicious nonetheless.
1/4 cup honey or agave syrup
1 cup grapefruit juice or 3 to 4 cups strawberries or blueberries
1 cup tequila
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups ice cubes
How to Make It
1. Peel three of the limes by lopping off the tops and the bottoms of each one, cutting just deep enough to expose the fruit beneath the pith. Stand each lime on your cutting board—it should be nice and steady. Cut the remaining peel and pith off the lime in wide strips, working your way around the fruit, so that you end up with a complete, peeled piece of fruit. Discard the peels or reserve them from another use. (Julia likes to simmer them with water and brown sugar, then strain the liquid and serve it over ice. She notes that a little tequila wouldn't hurt one bit.) Cut the remaining lime into thin slices.
2. Put the peeled limes in a blender; add the honey or agave, juice (or 3 cups of the strawberries or blueberries), tequila, and salt; and blend until combined. Add the ice (see notes above—you likely will need to do this in batches) and let the machine run until the ice is totally blitzed and the mixture is very smooth.
3. Pour into four glasses and garnish with the lime slices. Serve immediately.
Adapted from the recipe for Paloma Slushies in Julia Turshen's Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs
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