As with a Moscow Mule, the Paloma at its heart is a three-ingredient cocktail. Also like the Moscow Mule, it contains lime juice. But in place of vodka, it uses tequila, and instead of ginger beer, it uses grapefruit soda.
However, unlike the Mule, which has a definite story to its origin and signature copper mugs, the Paloma doesn’t have a back story…
Somebody just came up with the drink, and people don’t question it.
Everyone is familiar with Margaritas so the Paloma is something they can jump to pretty easily, as it has familiar ingredients. And Palomas look refreshing (because they are refreshing?)
The Paloma is a simple but elegant drink on it’s way to becoming “the next Moscow Mule”.
It may have already jumped past that level of trendiness and established itself as an essential classic for bartenders and consumers alike.
Like the Mule, the Paloma’s nearly impossible to screw up. It is delicious, and it is impossibly easy to make. Even an ‘average’ Paloma is still tasty, and it isn’t difficult to make a good or great one.
A great Paloma starts with fresh (not bottled or sweetened) lime juice, a good quality tequila—typically blanco or silver, but añejo can also be nice… and a good quality grapefruit soda.
Though, in Mexico, where the Palomas are more popular than Margaritas, it is made with either Fresca or Squirt (or sometimes Jarritos).
You can also make a Paloma with a mix of grapefruit juice and soda water in place of the grapefruit soda.
Besides using the three basic ingredients, you can try adding a touch of salt. It can add that last bit of oomph or brightness to pick up the flavors.
Like other spin-offs of the Mule, bartenders are now starting to make their own variations on the Paloma, adding mangos, switching out the tequila with mezcal, infusing syrups with rosemary, cinnamon, hibiscus or peppercorns, and stirring up spicy variations with either peppers or pepper-infused liqueurs like Ancho Reyes. Some bartenders are even switching out the grapefruit juice with grapefruit lagers.
The Palomas are starting their move out of craft cocktail bars and into more mainstream restaurants and bars. Morton’s steakhouses are serving them, the Omni Hotels are shaking up mango Palomas, and perhaps most telling, Chipotle is trying out a frozen Paloma.
Here is one version of the Paloma Recipe:
What you’ll need:
1 grapefruit wedge
¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup mescal or tequila
¼ cup club soda
How to prepare:
Pour some kosher salt on a plate. Rub half of rim of a highball glass with grapefruit wedge; dip rim of glass in salt. Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sugar in glass; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in mescal, add ice, and top off with club soda. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.