What Is A Paloma?
The Paloma, which translates to “dove” in Spanish, is a minimalistic cocktail known for its refreshing flavor and simple recipe. Just three ingredients are needed to make the beverage: tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. Jarritos soda is a popular choice, however, Squirt and Fresca are also commonly used.
Origin stories of drinks are often debated, but the Paloma is widely believed to have been created in Mexico in the 1950s. The most popular story credits Don Javier Delgado Corona with originating the recipe.
Corona was the owner of the popular La Capilla bar in the appropriately-named town of Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico. He is also said to have created another soda-based tequila cocktail, the Batanga. Much like the Paloma, the Batanga is a simple drink. In fact, you’d only need to swap one ingredient from the Paloma to make a Baranga, which calls for Coca-Cola, tequila, and lime juice.
Making The Drink
Because the Paloma is meant to be constructed right in the glass, you don’t need any bar tools to make one at home. To start mixing your own cocktail, add 2 ounces of tequila and 0.5 ounces of lime juice to a highball glass. Then, fill the glass with ice, top it with grapefruit soda, and stir gently to combine.
Given the simplicity of the Paloma, there are few ways to adjust the recipe without changing the drink completely. But there are still a few common variations that have popped up. For example, blanco tequila is the traditional spirit choice, but some bartenders opt for a lightly aged reposado instead.
It has also become increasingly common for bartenders to make the drink with fresh grapefruit juice rather than grapefruit soda. This results in a more tart version of the cocktail which lacks the carbonation of the traditional recipe. If you’d like to make a Paloma with fresh grapefruit juice without losing the fizzy effect, a splash of unflavored soda water can be added for carbonation.
Who Wants A Paloma?
When people think of tequila-based cocktails, the first drink that comes to mind for most is the Margarita. In fact, a recent study found that it was the most popular cocktail in the U.S. And some people in the bar and restaurant industry have even used the Margarita as an example to explain why they believe the Paloma isn’t as commonly seen on U.S. menus.
In an interview, Houston bar owner Bobby Heugel said, “As unromantic as it may be, the Margarita skyrocketed in popularity nationally, and internationally, in the ‘70s because of the ease of serving and drinking frozen margaritas, which led to pre-mixes and high margins.”
By contrast, the Paloma has more waste, largely due to the use of soda which quickly goes flat, and doesn’t net the same profit margin. But while the Paloma doesn’t get as much love on American menus as many other popular cocktails, its minimalistic ingredients and simple recipe make it a great cocktail to make at home, regardless of experience level.
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