The Paloma Cocktail – Tequila
The paloma is a thirst-quenching tequila cocktail that’s very easy to mix up. A favorite drink from Mexico, it is equally popular worldwide. It’s one of the best ways to show off a great tequila. “Paloma” is the Spanish word for “dove,” and it’s a fitting name for this sparkling grapefruit drink.
The Paloma cocktail in its simplest form is just tequila, grapefruit soda (usually Squirt) and a lime wedge for garnish. Here, I’m taking things to the next level with muddled jalapeño and basil, lime juice, simple syrup, fresh pressed grapefruit and fizzy water to finish. Small quantities of basil and jalapeño provide interesting notes of anise and spice while the tart freshness of grapefruit takes center stage.
Though there are variations, two elements are essential in any paloma recipe: tequila and grapefruit. It’s a beautiful match, especially with a tart lime accent and a little fizz. Traditionally, grapefruit soda is used, and Jarritos Toronja has typically been the brand of choice. It’s not too hard to find this Mexican soda, especially if you look at markets that sell international food or shop online.
Palomas can be enjoyed year-round, but they’re especially delicious right now when citrus season is in full effect. In my previous grapefruit cocktail recipe, I featured the sweeter Oro Blanco varietal. Here, I’m using a local Ruby Red grapefruit that’s got a good balance of sweet and tart.
For a more simple paloma cocktail recipe, use one part tequila to three parts grapefruit soda. Then, serve it on the rocks in a highball glass.
- 2 oz tequila (blanco or reposado)
- 1/4 to 1/2 oz lime juice (fresh; to taste)
- 4 oz grapefruit soda
- Optional: lime wedge (for wetting rim of glass)
- Optional: salt (for rim of glass)
- Gather the ingredients.
- If desired, rim a collins glass with salt. Begin by wetting the rim with a lime wedge, then roll it in a small dish of salt.
- Fill the glass with ice and add the tequila and lime juice.
- Top it off with grapefruit soda and enjoy.
- If you cannot find Jarritos, Squirt and Fresca are grapefruit sodas that are easy to find. Try the paloma with any grapefruit soda. For a stronger grapefruit flavor, try a craft soda like Hansen’s, Izze, and Q Drinks.
- Choose a great blanco tequila for a paloma. If you’re in the mood to splurge, reposados are nice as well. Fight the temptation to be too cheap simply because this is a tall drink. The same quality rules you apply to the margarita should carry over to the paloma.
- Adjust the lime juice to taste and the soda you’re pouring. Start with a small amount—even a squeeze from a lime wedge works—then add more if you like. A lime garnish allows quick adjustments as you drink.
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