A Paloma cocktail is the REAL tequila cocktail you should be drinking if you want to be authentically Mexican, that's also really easy to make and refreshing too. This version uses fresh grapefruit juice for an extra bright sweet-tart flavor.
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Margaritas are, other than particular brands of beer, the drink most people associate with Mexico. But in actual fact, people in Mexico don't really drink them (well, apart from tourists, of course). Tequila and mezcal yes, but not made into margaritas.
Instead, the paloma cocktail is the Mexican cocktail of choice. It's easy to make, refreshing and with a delicious tart-citrus flavor. It's definitely one to try this summer.
I mentioned before (such as when I shared my mango habanero sauce), that Cinco de Mayo isn't particularly celebrated in Mexico. So to a point, there's no need to get too hung up on the authenticity of what you eat and drink, if you celebrate the day.
However I think it's always nice to learn authentic and lesser-known dishes, such a youvetsi from Greece, fideua from Spain and Nyonya shrimp and pineapple curry from Malaysia whether it's a reminder of a trip or just for something different.
Tequila is indeed popular in Mexico, but as I say not usually in margaritas. More typically, people drink it neat, but sipped rather than as shots. The shot with lime and salt is only really if you have a lesser quality tequila.
I've noticed you can buy a much broader range of tequilas here these days as it's appreciated more. If you're not up for neat, though, the paloma cocktail is a great alternative that's still authentic.
How to make a paloma cocktail
This cocktail is so easy to make. In Mexico, they'll often make it with a grapefruit soda, but you can also make it with fresh grapefruit juice and sparkling water/club soda. It will be less sweet, but to me that's better. You get to enjoy the fresh flavor much more.
Just pour the tequila over some ice, add the grapefruit juice, a squeeze of lime and some soda water then serve. If you want it sweeter, mix in a little sugar with the juice, but otherwise that's it.
Traditionally, you make this with a blanco tequilla which is your everyday, unaged kind. However, I quite like the added complexity of flavors you get from a good reposado (with a little aging) or a mezcal. It's worth trying more than one way to see which you prefer.
Easy and refreshing, this Paloma is a great cocktail to sip on on a warm day. So add it to your cinco de Mayo celebration or any excuse you want to, really. Cheers!
Try these other easy cocktails:
- Raspberry collins cocktail (fruity and refreshing)
- Pimm's mojito (a tasty twist on the classic)
- Mexican carajillo (a super easy coffee cocktail)
- Strawberry St Germain gin and tonic
- Plus get more cocktail recipes in the archives.
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional and approx- for salt rim)
- 2 oz tequila 60ml (blanco or reposado, or can use mezcal)
- 2 oz grapefruit juice 60ml
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (a good squeeze)
- 1 tablespoon simple syrup (made with equal parts sugar and water, warmed to dissolve) approx - or a little more or less to taste
- 2 oz sparkling water/club soda 60ml (or a little more)
- If you want to have a salt rim on your glass, pour some salt on a small plate then rub the edge of the glass with either a slice of grapefruit or lime. Dip the top of the glass in salt and carefully turn over so you don't knock the salt off.
- Add the tequila, grapefruit juice and lime juice to the glass (traditionally hi-ball but I have used a shorter rocks-style glass here). Add some simple syrup (a little more/less to taste), stir to mix then add a few cubes of ice. Top up the glass with sparkling water/club soda and serve.
Try these other Mexican-inspired recipes:
- Pico de Gallo from Palatable Pastime
- Cheesy Spanish Rice from the Tip Garden
- Fried Ice Cream Bars from Cooking With Carlee
- Graham Cracker Fried Ice Cream from Jolene's Recipe Journal
- Blackberry Margaritas from Books n' Cooks
- Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies from Family Around the Table