Here’s the cocktail to enjoy during the remaining days of summer – Tequila, grapefruit soda, a squeeze of lime, a pinch of salt. Some ice. Stir. It’s the Paloma, a cousin to the margarita, with the same sweet-and-sour DNA, only a bit bitter and a bit bubbly. Two years ago, the better bars around town were serving it. This summer, the Paloma has gone mainstream.
You can find it at most bars in the area, done in different variations — mescal instead of tequila, or mixed with lemon-line soda instead of grapefruit juice.
Contrary to popular belief, the Paloma, not the margarita, is the national drink of Mexico. (It’s debatable whether the margarita was even invented in Mexico).
It’s an easy drink to make at home. Sip it while on the front porch or at a backyard barbecue. You can throw a Paloma party. Put out a bottle of tequila, some Squirt, a bowl of lime wedges and salt on a table and let folks mix their own. (That’s how the drink is served at some restaurants in Jalisco.)
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But the secret to a great Paloma is fresh grapefruit.
Below are two variations: the original Paloma recipe and an interpretation of that classic. The latter is the best Paloma recipe I’ve found in the dozen I tested.
2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce lime juice
pinch of salt
Combine the tequila (reposado, preferably), lime juice, and salt in a Collins glass. Add ice, top off with grapefruit soda and stir. Mexican Jarritos brand is preferred but anything will do. (Use lemon-lime soda with a splash of grapefruit juice if you can’t find grapefruit soda.) Some prefer the salt on the rim of the glass, but we say just throw it in. Others omit it entirely. Don’t.
Recipe courtesy of David Wondrich for Esquire Magazine.
La Paloma (updated version)
3 ounces freshly squeezed white grapefruit juice
2 ounces blanco or silver tequila
½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
½ ounce agave nectar
Sea salt to rim the glass
1 lime wheel for garnish
1. Fill cocktail shaker two-thirds full with ice. Add grapefruit juice, tequila, lime juice and agave nectar. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass rimmed with sea salt.
2. Top with a splash of club soda, and garnish with lime wheel.
Recipe by Tad Carducci of Tippling Bros., a New York-based consultancy, from the cocktail book “Boozehound” by Jason Wilson