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One of my good friends, Jason, gave me a great Christmas gift – Sotol. What is sotol? An alcoholic beverage made from the Dasylirion wheeleri, an evergreen shrub native to the arid dessert of northern Mexico and the southern US. I must stress that Sotol is NOT tequila. I repeat, NOT TEQUILA. It is more like tequila’s cousin. It still has that smokey flavor without all the heaviness. And none of the cat cough inducing, nasty after taste at the end. Some people enjoy it enough to drink it straight. If that’s not you (it’s not me, for sure), try this paloma.

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The Perfect Paloma (from Annie Eats)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1/8 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup Sotol
1 tbsp simple syrup
1/4 cup club soda

Rim a cocktail glasses with juice from a grapefruit wedge and dip in coarse salt.  Fill glasses with crushed ice.  Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila and simple syrup in a liquid measuring cup or cocktail shaker.  Mix well to blend. Pour the club soda into the glass. Top each serving off with half of the cocktail mixture.  Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

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