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As the lead mixologist at the Drake Hotel, Simon Ho has seen many a patron order tequila as something to be quickly downed in a shot glass, to jump-start or conclude a night of partying.

"But tequila has a subtle flavour that works well in cocktails," says Ho, who has been tending bar at the popular Toronto watering hole for the past eight years. "It's one of my favourite spirits to work with."

This made-for-summer tequila-based cocktail is not a new creation as much as a variation on a traditional Mexican drink. The main difference, Ho says, is that, in addition to rimming the glass with salt, he adds it to the drink for extra bite.

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Also significant: The brand of spirit used is Tequila Tromba, made by a company that is partly Canadian-owned, lending the recipe a touch of local flavour.

"This cocktail is simple but complex at the same time," Ho says. "It's also very easy to make at home."

The Paloma by Simon Ho, Drake Hotel, Toronto

Ingredients

2 ounces Tequila Tromba Blanco

1 ounce fresh lime juice

A pinch kosher salt

5 to 6 ounces carbonated grapefruit soda

Grapefruit slice

Method

Combine, in this order, tequila, lime juice, salt and grapefruit soda in a Collins glass filled with ice.

Stir the ingredients with a bar spoon, then garnish with a grapefruit slice. Salud!

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About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More

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