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GrapefruitIt’s hot. So hot. With the sun blazing down and heat radiating off the surrounding pavement and buildings, I desperately seek out shade, air-conditioning and a cool drink. However, drinks that are too strong or sweet just aren’t appealing even if they’re cold. Citrus fruits, even though they’re technically winter produce, provide an ideal refreshment. As a kid if I was allowed to have a soda, I’d choose either Squirt, Mellow Yellow, and to a lesser degree Fresca. Now I thankfully graduated to versions without all the processed ingredients and sugars and can indulge with drinks having a bit more complexity. The Paloma embodies the tart/sweet/salty flavors of a great summer drink.

Back in April, Julio Bermejo was in town giving a seminar at the Museum of the American Cocktail on his favorite subject, tequila. One of the drinks presented and served was the Paloma, but this one was different from the standard variety that you pick-up in Mexico or as represented in the many recipes online (such as the Cazadores Paloma demonstrated in this hilarious, campy video).

Rather than use grapefruit soda, such as Jarritos, Julio used fresh grapefruit juice carbonated with a seltzer bottle. Muy bueno! This simple drink forced my husband and me to purchase a Sodastream Pure Home Soda Maker (Charcoal/Stainless) so we could do this at home.

    Dr. Kern’s Paloma by Julio Bermejo
    2 oz 100% agave tequila (Ocho Resposado)
    4 oz fresh, force-carbonated ruby red grapefruit juice
    Pinch of salt

    In a boston shaker filled with ice, pour tequila, add carbonated ruby red grapefruit juice, and shake. Strain into glass and add pinch of salt.

For some additional variations to the Paloma, I have found these others:

    Paloma, Mi Amante by Paul Clarke
    2 oz Tequila por Mi Amante
    ½ a lime
    Pinch of coarse salt
    Grapefruit soda

    Add ingredients to an ice-filled Collins glass; top with grapefruit soda (Jarritos, Squirt, or if you just can’t find any, try Sprite with a healthy squeeze of fresh grapefruit).

I’m fortunate to have a batch of Tequila por Mi Amante sitting in the frig that I made a while back when Louisiana strawberries were in season. Using this strawberry-infused tequila is a nice twist to the standard Paloma.

    Paloma Pura Cocktail from Kitchen Caravan
    2 grapefruits, halved
    1 lime, halved
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 oz tequila
    soda water
    2 fresh basil leaves

    Squeeze the juice of the grapefruit and lime into a bowl; it should equal about 1 cup. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Prepare two cocktail glasses with ice. Divide the juice between the glasses and pour 1 oz of tequila into each. Top off with a little bit of soda water. If using basil, tear up the leaves and add to the glass. Serves 2.

If you can no longer get your hands on any good grapefruit, the traditional preparation remains, but there are better alternatives to the grapefruit soda such as Izze’s or Hansen’s. In addition, I created another version since I had some extra rose sparkling wine and named it to fit along with its parentage (“paloma” means dove) and the pink hue from both the juice and the sparkling wine:

Paloma_Rose Colombe de Rose
1 oz fresh, ruby red grapefruit juice
¾ oz reposado tequila
Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé
Pinch of pink finishing salt

Strain the grapefruit juice into a champagne glass, add tequila and top off the glass with the Rosé. Sprinkle the salt into the glass.

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