Drink This: Agua Fresca Poptail

Leah LeMoineJuly 31, 2020
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Photography by Angelina Aragon
Photography by Angelina Aragon

If you grew up in the Southwest, chances are you spent sweaty summers wheedling your parents for pocket change for the paleta cart as well as the ice cream truck. So Ghost Ranch general manager Berny Centeno and mixologist Adrian Galindo were all ears when chef Rene Andrade suggested incorporating the sweet and tart Mexican ice pop into a summer cocktail. “He was probably just playing, but we were like, ‘Ah! That sounds like such a great idea,’” Centeno says.

Galindo created a simple cocktail base of mezcal, dark agave nectar and lime, and Centeno came up with a paleta inspired by agua de jamaica, an agua fresca made of hibiscus tea. Available in-house or to-go, it was an immediate hit with Ghost Ranch customers. “They love how they can stir the paleta into the cocktail and it turns into a different color,” Centeno says. “It’s so fun to see adults having fun with the little paletas. They go back to their childhood.”

To make the cocktail base, muddle 3-4 mint leaves in a shaker. Add 2 oz. Agave de Cortes mezcal, ¾ oz. dark agave nectar, ¾ oz. fresh lime juice and ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with fresh mint and a dehydrated orange wheel. Place a popsicle* lengthwise on top.

*To make popsicles, boil 2 quarts of water with 1 quart of dried hibiscus (tea) and 1 cup of sugar for 10 minutes or until the liquid is a deep magenta color and nearly opaque. Let sit for five minutes. Strain out the solids. Cool. Zest an orange over small paleta molds. Top with the hibiscus tea. Freeze until solid.


Ghost Ranch

1006 E. Warner Rd., Tempe
480-474-4328, ghostranchaz.com