Even though the heart of the bar program at Mosto is the agave spirits by the glass, where a list of over 300 bottles dwarfs the six cocktails, their version of the classic La Paloma ($9, El Jimador Blanco Tequila, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit juice, Jarritos Toronja soda) is exceptional.
In Mexico, the Paloma (tequila, lime, grapefruit soda) is far more popular than the Margarita, in part because it's straightforward to make and just as refreshing. There you can walk into most any restaurant and order a bottle of tequila for your group accompanied with buckets of Squirt soda and bowls of limes--in a surprisingly casual way, thankfully free of U.S.-style bottle-service bullshit.
The Mosto version tweaks the original recipe with the addition of St. Germain and a pink peppercorn rim; the grapefruit bitterness gets some wonderfully intergraded floral qualities that only make it more drinkable.
We were surprised to learn that the version of the drink isn't new, but something that Brooke Arthur helped develop for owner Joe Hargrave at Laiola, the Spanish restaurant he eventually turned into the first Tacolicious in the Marina. We're glad that the drink made the transition over; now if he would only do the same to the bacon-wrapped chorizo-stuffed dates...
Mosto, 741 Valencia (at 18th St.), 626-1344