This drink by Aaron Deary for Philadelphia’s R&D is textured, subtly herbal, fresh and vaguely familiar— a Paloma after a day of self-care. With tequila, hoja santa (a large Mexican leaf with peppery, herbaceous flavors), Chinese five-spice, tarragon, grapefruit, coconut milk and club soda, he admits that calling it a Paloma is a bit of a stretch. And without spices, Deary says it wouldn’t be much of a milk punch either; unlike the more traditional Clarified Milk Punch, this one contains no dairy. “It’s about taking something that people recognize and combining it with something they’ve never seen before,” he says.
Making the Paloma Milk Punch is a time, ingredient and labor intensive process which includes making a tea from the hoja santa and tarragon, as well as cooking and clarifying the coconut milk with the rest of the punch. However, the work will pay off, especially when entertaining, as you will be left with ten servings of an amazingly aromatic drink, a slightly spicy and herbaceous Paloma with a silky-sweet mouthfeel.
- 6 ounces blanco tequila
- 3 ounces Giffard crème de pamplemousse rose liqueur
- 1 1/2 ounces Ancho Reyes Verde chile liqueur
- 7 1/2 ounces Hoja santa and tarragon tea*
- Spice mixture**
- 4 1/2 ounces lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 4 1/2 ounces grapefruit juice
- 3 1/2 ounces coconut milk
- Club soda, to top
In a large shallow container, combine tequila, both liqueurs, hoja santa and tarragon tea* and spice mixture**. Infuse for 2 hours, then strain out the spices. Return the liquid to the container.
In a jug or container with a spout, combine the lime juice and grapefruit juice.
Heat the coconut milk to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring constantly. Transfer the hot coconut milk to a jug or container with a spout.
Very slowly and simultaneously pour both coconut milk and the citrus mixture over the entire surface of the punch. The coconut milk will break initially, then become cloudy. After 30 minutes, a layer of curds should form.
Let the punch sit at room temperature for 1 hour, then transfer to a refrigerator for 1 hour.
Strain the punch through a cheesecloth, then through a coffee filter or a Superbag, and refrigerate.
Pour a 3-ounce serving into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
Top with club soda.
*Hoja santa and tarragon tea: Bring 1 liter of filtered water to boil. Add 1 large hoja santa leaf and 5 tarragon sprigs, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and chill in an ice bath.
**Spice mixture: Toast 1 3/4 ounces cinnamon sticks, 1 ounce star anise pods, 1/3 ounce Szechuan peppercorns, 1/3 ounce whole cloves, 1 ounce green cardamom pods and 1/3 ounce fennel seeds in a pan over medium heat until fragrant, for no more than 5 minutes. (Start with the cinnamon and star anise, then add the rest, as they toast quickly.) Remove from heat and let cool.