For our previous cocktail corner recipe we made a Margarita with Tequila’s smoky Mexican cousin Mezcal. Having surrendered its place last time round we think it only fair that Tequila gets a chance to show its cocktail credentials in our next recipe so we’re introducing you to one of the simplest cocktails going, The Paloma.
What is a Paloma?
The Paloma is a favourite of Mexican mixers that features just three key ingredients: Tequila, grapefruit soda and lime (sounds good already, huh?). The word ‘paloma’ is Spanish for ‘dove’ – we’d love to elaborate further on the origins of its name, and how the drink came about, but even Mr Google struggles to find a plausible, verified theory. What we do know is that it’s big in Mexico (you can even buy cans of Paloma) but less well thought of elsewhere in the world, certainly when compared to the Margarita, but we reckon it’s well worth the surrendering of some decent tequila.
With such few ingredients it’s worth getting good ones. For this, and other tequila cocktails, it’s more common to use a blanco or silver tequila, but we like to give it a bit more character by using one that has been barrel aged and have plumped for Patrón Añejo (an Añejo tequila has been aged for a minimum of one year). It’s a bit pricier than basic blancos but it’s a popular choice among those fancier bars that make you dress up smart to enter* and we think is worth the investment – it’s a superb smooth sipping booze with notes of vanilla, oak and even a faint flicker of smoke that also goes down a treat neat.
You’ll find some recipes that use combinations of grapefruit juice, soda and syrups but we’re sticking with the simplicity of grapefruit soda. Jarritos is the most popular brand in Mexico but we couldn’t find any in Somerset so went for Belvoir’s grapefruit presse instead. It’s nice and fizzy, not to sweet and full of grapefruit flavour – we don’t know what Jarritos tastes like but reckon this is a top notch replacement.
The Paloma recipe
All you need to make a Paloma is to mix one part of tequila (say 50ml) with three parts of grapefruit soda (150ml), pour into a highball glass filled with ice, and garnish with a wedge of lime. For a bit of extra zestiness you could give the lime wedge a little squeeze first. And if you like a salty rim then by all means dip the glass in sea salt before you begin, but we think such frippery is unnecessary. Like most cocktails, this might sound like a summery drink, but we enjoyed our ray of pink Mexican sunshine on a miserably wet and stormy November evening and the zestiness was enough to give our spirits a lift while the oakier flavours of the Añejo gave it a more sophisticated depth that we think is more suited to the darker days of winter. Lovely Dovely.
*Bars we tend to avoid