The best summer (or summer-adjacent – just drink whatever you want, whenever you want) cocktails are always the easiest to make, blending two or three flavours to offer something no other concoction can. Minimal drinks like the Pimms & lemonade, Aperol Spritz, or the kingly Negroni remain timeless because they are not overly concerned with excessive flair and hard to acquire, often expensive ingredients. It’s hard to come across that kind of simplicity nowadays, but when we do strike on it, we feel the need to let you know. And that’s the purpose of this PSA: simply letting you know that the Paloma cocktail needs to be on your radar and in your mouth this weekend because, lo and behold, May 22nd is World Paloma Day.
In its most basic form, the Paloma cocktail is a simple combination of two ingredients: tequila and ‘Squirt‘ – a grapefruit flavoured soda that was introduced to the US market in 1938. How it became Mexico’s favourite aperitif isn’t entirely understood but dates back to 1955 when the country started importing Squirt, where it featured in simplified versions of the margarita in Guadalajara. As people became merrier, they appeared to become less concerned with what notable Mexican food authority Nancy Zaslavsky called, the ‘Lazy Man’s Margarita’. By night end in El Parián plaza, San Pedro de Tlaquepaque, all that remained were bottles of tequila and Squirt, and their mouthwatering marriage began to make waves across Mexico and into the US.
Now before we go any further we should mention that the Paloma is the only Tequila cocktail you’ll need this weekend. Funnily enough, World Paloma Day also falls on the same weekend as World Whisky Day, so no doubt you’ll have more than a few old fashioned cocktails coming at you as well.
For some unbeknown reason to us, it’s yet to make waves in our circles but after a recent Patrón tasting, it’s all we’ve been discussing, and drinking, in the office. Simple, balanced, and ridiculously refreshing the Paloma cocktail is your answer to hassle-free summer sessions, thanks in most part to the likes of CAPI, StrangeLove, and Fever-Tree who have taken the pain out of trying to parallel import Squirt with their sparkling grapefruit releases. On the tequila front, original recipes call for a 100% Agave tequila – either Blanco or Reposado – which makes the Paloma additionally straightforward.
Naturally, brands such as Patrón – who you can thank for getting the Paloma cocktail on our radar – have chosen to jazz up the cult classic with additional lime juice, salted rim, and grapefruit wedge garnish, but in all honesty, you don’t need to. 50ml of Patrón Reposado, topped with a grapefruit soda, over ice, is all you need this festive season.
Move over Gin & Tonic. There’s a new sheriff in town.
Paloma Cocktail Recipe
- 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
- crushed ice
- 45 ml blanco Tequila or reposado Tequila
- 100 ml fresh grapefruit juice
- 15 ml lime juice
- 10 ml sugar syrup
- 1 lime wedge for garnish
- Soda water
- First, mix the sea salt and grapefruit zest in a shallow dish until combined.
- Rim the edge of the glass with a lime wedge and then roll the glass into the salt mix until rim is coated.
- Fill glass with crushed ice.
- Add Tequila, lime juice and sugar syrup.
- Top with grapefruit juice and soda water.
- Garnish with dried grapefruit slices (optional)
Now check out our comprehensive breakdown of the best tequilas you can buy.