Barmini is José Andrés' culinary cocktail lab adjoining minibar at 855 E Street NW in Washington, DC.
The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images
By Sam Frizell and Ryan Teague Beckwith
July 30, 2015

When Miguel Marcelino Herrera learned that Sen. Bernie Sanders would be coming to a house party he was hosting in his apartment, the Washington bartender wanted to do something special. He decided to create a cocktail in his honor.

After experimenting with a mojito made with maple syrup from Vermont, which Sanders represents, and a Michelada made with a lager from Brooklyn, where Sanders grew up, he settled on something a little stronger: a variation on a tequila-based cocktail called the paloma.

“In my languge paloma means dove, and dove means soul,” explains Herrera, who grew up in Puebla, Mexico. “And Bernie truly has soul. When he speaks it’s almost like he has a truly big holy spirit driving his ideas.”

The Bernie Paloma is made with silver tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and Vermont maple syrup.

Be warned: If you’re making one at home, it’ll set you back a bit. For a TIME taste test, the main ingredients cost $59.36, and that wasn’t counting sucrose esters, an emulsifier that can be found online in generic form for another $15. (Brand-name Sucro, as specified by the recipe, costs a whopping $105.)

Herrera, 24, works at the swank, reservations-only Washington cocktail lounge Barmini, which is owned by noted D.C. chef José Andrés. (This isn’t the first time that Andrés has come up in connection to 2016, either. He backed out of a deal to open an upscale restaurant in an D.C. hotel being developed by Donald Trump after the Republican candidate made anti-immigrant comments at his campaign launch.)

The drink was served at a house party held Wednesday as part of a massive national organizing event for Sanders, but it gained attention after the New York Times shared the recipe in a story.

MORE: Sanders Hosts Biggest Organizing Event of 2016

So how does it taste? Here are some remarks from our assortment of taste testers:

“Nope. It tastes like this drink from college called Skittles.”

“The hairs on my arms just stood up from the smell. … (After drinking) Not bad.”

“Refreshing. That is a fine drink.”

Noting the lime and grapefruit juices: “This might be useful if I was at sea.”

All our testers recommended serving the drink chilled or over ice, as otherwise it tended to come off a little too much like something you’d get served in a red Solo cup at a college party. As it’s a tequila drink, the salt-based garnish is also strongly recommended.

For those wanting to try at home, here’s the recipe:

The Bernie Paloma

0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup

0.5 oz. fresh lime juice

2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

2 oz. silver tequila

Garnish: “salt air,” which is made by emulsifying sea salt, lime juice, water and Sucro with a hand blender.

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