Essential T: Tequila and a Made-From-Scratch Clamato Recipe

Try this fresh-from-Mexico recipe for an artisanal Clamato cocktail in honor of National Tequila Day

The very best Mexican foods (and drinks) start with the letter T—tacos, tortas, tlayudas. Here we showcase the tastiest “T” bites from the streets of L.A. (and Mexico).

Big changes are happening in Mexico’s craft drinking culture these days, from an exploding craft beer movement to the increasing use of Mexican ingredients by the top chefs and bartenders, who are making formerly mass-produced mixers like chamoy (savory sauce) and Clamato from scratch. I assumed that on National Tequila Day, July 24, I would pick up the usual mass-produced mixers I’ve always relied on, like Clamato.

That was until I tried the “Kochimato” at Kochi Kochi BBQ in La Paz by Mexican surf and turf master, chef Carlos Valdez, who also owns Buffalo BBQ and Al Forno Pizzas in La Paz.

The original recipe calls for Ketel One vodka, but I’m substituting the vodka with Tapatio blanco tequila for National Tequila Day:

1.5 oz. of Tapatio blanco
3 oz. of Kochi Mix (see recipe)
Sea snail ice cubes (see recipe)

Kochi Mix (makes 7 servings)
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon celery salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons chile powder
1/2 cup clam stock
1 1/2 cup tomato juice 

Mix all ingredients together and chill.

Sea Snail Ice Cubes:
1 1/2 cup oyster juice
3/4 cup celery juice
1/2 cup finely diced sea snail (or clams)

Mix ingredients, pour into ice cube mold, and freeze.

Salt Garnish:
1 tablespoon sea snail salt*
1 tablespoon clam salt*
1 tablespoon cucumber salt*
1 chile powder 

*Dehydrate the product, mix with salt and roast in the oven then pass it through a coffee grinder to make flavored salts.

Salt the rim with an equal mixture of celery salt, cucumber salt, sea snail salt and chile powder. Dress your Kochimato with a pickled chile guero, a stalk of celery, and a slice of cucumber.

I still don’t think anyone should make their own ketchup, but once you try this Clamato, you’ll never go back.