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My wife's family has been farming "The Mesilla Valley" of New Mexico as far back as the 1800's when it was still a U.S. Territory. The fertile soil and the flowing waters of the Rio Grande were perfect for growing a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, onions and especially chile. Many of their farm workers migrated up from Mexico. These workers  used a lot of limes, clam juice and dried shrimp for seasoning and taste, as is common on the coast line of Mexico.  I remember going over to the farm on Friday afternoons when all the workers would get together and cook up carnitas, tortillas and a drink mixture that included the tomatoes, onions, chile, clam juice, lime juice and dried shrimp (and whatever else they harvested that week). There was a very large older man that would do all the cooking and wouldn't let anyone else cook. He had been doing this every Friday for as long as anyone could remember. They said he spoke no English. So I asked the workers that did speak English what his name was. They laughed and said "just call him El Gordo".  For this drink mixture each of them would throw something in the pot from the harvest, He would heat it up over a open fire, strain it and add a shot of tequila, a shot of beer, a squeeze of lime and pour it over a glass of ice. They said this was the cure all, especially for hangovers, loaded with all the vitamins and minerals that were given to us by tierra madre (mother earth). The mix was made really light and with lots of lime for a refreshing drink even on the 110 degree summer days in New Mexico. When I tasted this I thought this was the best tasting drink I ever had. So I thought to myself, this would make a great tasting Bloody Mary. I started going over every Friday so I could pick up on the recipe (and eat some great Mexican food). So with a little fine tuning and learning to speak Spanish this is how EL GORDO'S originated.

Mark and Annette Kowalski
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