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Cayenne-Thyme Syrup and the Paloma Picante
September 3, 2011Posted by on
A simple Paloma is a mixture of tequila and grapefruit soda, it makes a tasty and refreshing drink, but I felt like it needed something more. I took a suggestion from Imbibe and added some lime and a pinch of salt, but it still needed (in my bitters soaked mind) something more. I made the following Cayenne-Thyme syrup to work with some gin for the last days of summer and found that it works really well, in fact better, with tequila:
- 6 cups water
- 10 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 oz fresh thyme
I put that on a low boil for 20 minutes and then added 4 cups of sugar and turned the heat up until it dissolved, then I strained and bottled it.
For the Paloma Picante I added some of this syrup and some orange bitters to compensate for the sweetness and ended up with a perfect end-of-summer tall drink. This drink starts off slightly bitter-sweet, with a heavy citrus kick and an herbal nose (there is neither notice of the salt nor bitters except that they really tie the flavors together and keep it from being too much or too busy) and it finishes with a mellow back of the throat heat from the cayenne:
- 1.5 gold tequila (I used Sauza)
- .75 cayenne-thyme syrup
- .5 lime juice
- 1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
- 1 pinch salt
- grapefruit soda
- 1 lime wedge for garnish
Build in an empty highball with the tequila, syrup, juice, salt, and bitters. Fill with ice, then top with grapefruit soda and stir ever so lightly. Garnish with lime wedge.
A quick note on the name: in polite company paloma means dove, and paloma picante means spicy dove. In certain dialects it means something completely different, so unless you are ordering a drink you might not want to use the phrase paloma picante.