Ice & Spice

Turn up the heat with summer Palomas. 

After a long, snowy winter, summer in the Gallatin Valley is truly special. A great cocktail—while on the river, camping, or just on the back patio—only adds to the experience. Cocktail choices abound, but nothing beats tequila as a summertime spirit. 

Tequila is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, and while some Montana-based distilleries produce spirits made from various agave plants, in order to be labeled as tequila under Mexican law, the product must be produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco using only blue agave.

One of the most well-known and sought-after tequila companies is Patrón. Among their most interesting products is a single-barrel selection, which means that the master distiller has identified a top barrel, in terms of taste and quality, and set it aside for special customers. Bozeman’s first Patrón single-barrel tequila just arrived a short time ago, at Nina’s Taco & Tequila Bar. It’s an añejo that has aged for 25 months, and the taste is exquisite. The coloring is a light caramel, and the taste has notes of honey.

One popular tequila drink is the Paloma. A Nina’s Paloma calls for Tajín Clásico seasoning, but similar products will do if Tajín isn’t available. This south-of-the-border standby has just enough kick to perk you up, while providing all the refreshment of a classic summer cocktail. Here’s how it’s made:

2 oz. Nina’s single-barrel Patrón añejotequila
2.5 oz. ruby-red grapefruit juice
1 splash agave nectar
1 dash Tajín Clásico seasoning
Jarritos grapefruit soda (or other available brand)
1/4 lime

Combine tequila, grapefruit juice, agave, Tajín Clásico, and a squeeze of lime over ice in a large glass or cocktail shaker. Pour into Tajín-rimmed glass and top with Jarritos soda. Enjoy somewhere with a mountain view.

Mark Lewis co-owns Montana Spirits in Bozeman with his wife Dawn.