Paloma Cocktail

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If I were to ask you what fruit juice is best paired with tequila you’d most likely say “lime.” In America that may be the answer but in Mexico, the home of tequila, the go-to fruit juice is grapefruit.

Paloma is Spanish for “dove” and there’s no good explanation for the name. The history of this drink is blurry – credit is given to Don Javier Delgado Corona (age 94) who owns the La Capilla bar in the town of Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico. Traditionally the drink is made using grapefruit soda (such as Jarritos) which is much more popular in Mexico than the United States. The Paloma is said to have made its way across the border to Texas via Evan Harrison who authored Popular Cocktails of The Rio Grande (unclear exactly when this occurred). Texas is home to an abundance of Ruby Red grapefruits – as a result the Paloma is more popular there than in other parts of the United States.

I decided to make my own grapefruit soda instead of using store bought (here we’d opt for Fresca or Squirt). Don’t worry – it’s much easier than it sounds. Start with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, add to it a bit of lime juice along with some agave to sweeten it. Add seltzer water to get the bubbles.

A few notes on the ingredients… Blue agave nectar comes from the same plant that produces tequila making it a fitting combination. It dissolves easily and is sweeter than traditional sugar or honey so you don’t need as much. If you’re unable to find Ruby Red grapefruits, don’t worry as you can use any fresh grapefruit, but you may need to add a bit more agave as Ruby Reds tend to be a bit sweeter.

This drink is a refreshing summer alternative to the classic Margarita. I recommend making a batch of the grapefruit mixture ahead of time and mixing each drink as needed so it’s fresh and bubbly.

Tip:  If you’re not up for making your own soda, I’d recommend using a high end mixer/soda like Q Grapefruit (from the same team that brings us Q Tonic). They believe in capturing the essence of the grapefruit and not filling the bottle with sugar. In this case skip the seltzer but do add a squeeze of lime.

Paloma Cocktail

Paloma Cocktail
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Recipe type: Drink
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Grapefruit Base:
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (~ 1 grapefruit)
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (~ 2 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • Seltzer water
  • For One Cocktail:
  • 2 ounces of grapefruit mixture
  • 2 ounces of tequila (preferably blanco)
  • Seltzer water
  • Garnish: grapefruit slice
Instructions
  1. Mix grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave nectar in a small pitcher or measuring cup. Add more agave nectar if desired. Can be made a few hours in advance and refrigerated.
  2. For each cocktail, fill a highball glass with ice. Add grapefruit mixture, tequila and top off with seltzer water. Stir. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.
Notes
* If you don't have agave syrup, I'd recommend substituting honey. You may need a bit more as it's not as sweet as agave nectar.
* Only making 2 cocktails? Make the recipe for 4 cocktails and freeze half in a small ziplock bag for the a future treat.
* Double or triple the cocktail base for a party. Add tequila and seltzer to glass when serving.

 

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