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The Perfect Summer Cocktail Courtesy of Danny Trejo

The action star serves up Paloma perfection and more in his new cookbook, 'Trejo's Cantina.'
Danny Trejo •
May 19th, 2023

Just picture it: You're splayed out by the pool, or maybe sprawled out on a blanket in the grass. You've got a book in one hand and a refreshment in the other. Summer is only days away, and you're going to need a signature cocktail for your outdoor reading oasis. The following Lavender Paloma recipe comes courtesy of action star Danny Trejo, who you know from his roles in movies like Machete or From Dusk Till Dawn.

Now, the movie star-turned-foodie star is building a gastro empire complete with various LA restaurants, signature cookbooks and even his own brand of beer. His latest cookbook, Trejo's Cantina is a celebration of Mexican food and drink and Hollywood culture that taps the spirit of the lively cantina where friends can gather to forget about everyday cares for a while.

"All the cocktail hipsters think the Paloma is some new tequila drink, but Mexicans have been drinking it for decades," the actor writes in Trejo's Cantina. "This version combines tequila and mezcal in equal parts. Too much mezcal could overwhelm the subtle flavors of the lavender—not traditional, but so nice!—and cutting it with tequila calibrates the whole deal."

Lavender Paloma recipe (makes one cocktail)

In a cocktail shaker, combine the lime juice, grapefruit juice, lavender syrup, tequila blanco, and mezcal. Add 1½ cups ice, seal the shaker, and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds to chill and dilute the cocktail. Open the shaker and add the club soda. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass and garnish with the sprig of fresh lavender.


¼ ounce (½ tablespoon) fresh lime juice
¾ ounce (1½ tablespoons) fresh grapefruit juice
½ ounce (1 tablespoon) Lavender Syrup*
¾ ounce (1½ tablespoons) tequila blanco
¾ ounce (1½ tablespoons) mezcal
2 ounces (¼ cup) club soda
Sprig of fresh lavender, for garnish

*Lavender Syrup (makes 3 cups)

Lavender might not be Mexican, but it sure is an L.A. herb. Mediterranean herbs like this grow like weeds in LA, and you see lavender growing everywhere from the fancy mansions of Hancock Park to the front yards of little Spanish bungalows in East LA. It makes this town smell like a candle store on some hot summer days! I love this syrup in iced tea with a little lemon.

16 ounces (2 cups) water
1 tablespoon dried lavender
2 cups sugar

In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the lavender. Remove from the heat and let the liquid steep for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a container, cover, and store in the fridge until ready to use.

This recipe and excerpt is reprinted with permission from Trejo’s Cantina by Danny Trejo with Hugh Garvey copyright © 2023. Photographs by Larchmont Hospitality Group LLC. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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