Valentine’s Day is upon us and we are going to help you honor someone you love by walking you through the tools and ingredients you’ll need to thoughtfully make this spicy, sultry cocktail. We also appreciate those of you/us who do not drink alcohol, so we will include some tips on how to make this same recipe spirit-free.

Let’s start by talking tools. It is nearly impossible for even the greatest bartender to make a quality drink without the right tools. We recommend buying this kit from cocktail kingdom to get you started down a path to perfectly diluted, airy, balanced cocktails. It is reasonably priced and has everything you need to make awesome shaken cocktails.

Next, gather your ingredients. For this recipe you will need:

Mezcal - (we recommend using Gem & Bolt mezcal, which is infused with damiana, a plant extract known for getting you randy, however any mezcal will do nicely) For a spirit-free version replace the same amount of mezcal with triple brewed lapsang souchong tea!

Paloma Mix - Our Top Hat Flor de Paloma mix has the perfect balance of grapefruit and hibiscus to add brightness and a punch of color to this paloma

Ginger Beer - Top Hat Ginger Beer is what gives the kick of heat in this cocktail and adds a nice touch of earthy warmth

Ground Sumac - Although this spice isn’t a standard in most spice cabinets, it should be. Any powdered sumac will do, including this one.

Tajin - One of our favorite things that exists! This fully addicting spice mix is usually sprinkled on fruit, we use it as the base of our salt mix for our paloma rim. You can buy it in the Hispanic foods isle at most grocery stores and also here.

A lime – when you are shopping for limes look for thin-skinned glossy fruit, as these tend to be juicier and less bitter

Honestly this drink is amazing, but the effort you put into creating it for a loved one can make it so much more than delicious. Get some nice glassware and class it up. Most of us are our own bartenders this year, so we might as well lean into it. Take it slow, make it beautiful, make it count.

Full Recipe for Spicy Mezcal Paloma