Since our bizarre cold snap seems to have abated (not that I’m complaining—we need the rain here in parched SoCal) and we’re back to warm spring weather, I’m happily back on the tequila bandwagon.
Not that I don’t love tequila at other times during the year, but summer is when I learned how much I love it. Since our hot, dry summers are similar to the weather that produces the agave plant, tequila is a natural fit for residents of Southern California’s unique climate.
I became enamored of tequila because of The Boyfriend. He hails from the High Desert, a blanket term for the northern Mojave, which encompasses a large swath of San Bernadino County, as well as the northern part of Los Angeles and eastern Kern counties. As the name implies, much of the desert is above sea level, and the area is known for high winds, scorching summer temperatures and freezing lows (with snow!) during the winter. It’s inhospitable and wildly beautiful, stretching away in a golden plain until it hits the mountains, with only joshua trees and scrub brush to break up the relentlessly flat earth.
Based on that description, I’m sure it’s clear why tequila and ice-cold beer are the drinks du jour during the 100º+ summers. And, while straight tequila is a wonderful thing, when used correctly it’s also great in cocktails. On my regular internet rounds I’ve been bookmarking tequila recipes here and there and this one worked its was to the top based on the fact that it was 80º outside and I, stupidly, had planned a dinner that required turning on the oven. With my kitchen roasting at a cheerful 95º, I turned to my summer libation of choice and mixed up the Limonada.
2 oz blanco tequila
1 oz limoncello
¾ oz lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1½ oz club soda
Shake tequila, limoncello, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice; pour over ice in a chimney glass. Top with club soda, garnish with a lemon wheel and serve.
We all know that citrus and tequila go exceptionally well together, but the marriage of Italian limoncello and Mexican tequila really sings. This is a perfect pitcher drink—toss everything together with some club soda on the side and put it out on the picnic table at your next barbeque. It’s pleasantly sweet with the tart lemon flavors of the limoncello and lemon juice, all harmonized by the earthy, sharp tequila. This drink was designed for leisurely sipping (particularly when the ambient temperature is high enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk) which, on a sultry desert-summer night, is a perfect fit.