What We're Drinking: La Paloma

2012-07-01T09:00:00Z 2014-08-21T15:01:58Z What We're Drinking: La PalomaStory and recipe by Matt Seiter | Photography by Laura Ann Miller Feast Magazine | Inspired Local Food Culture/Midwest

For most people, the first cocktail that comes to mind when they’re thinking of Mexican drinks is the margarita. In Mexico, however, the more popular tequila drink is La Paloma. It was created by Don Javier Delgado Corona at an establishment called La Capilla in the small Mexican town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco.

It’s a simple and refreshing cocktail made with tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda. The soda is what makes this drink unique in our neck of the woods. While grapefruit is an everyday soda flavor in Mexico, it’s not very popular here in the States. You can find it locally, however, at tiendas on Cherokee Street or at Jay International Food Co. on South Grand Boulevard. Look for the Jarritos brand grapefruit soda, which is bitter, slightly sweet and tart. These flavors carry over to the cocktail for a mouthwatering and fruity summer cooler.

There are many variations on the La Paloma recipe, some using grapefruit juice instead of soda and some using agave nectar for added sweetness. You’ll find some recipes call for blanco tequila (unaged) while others use reposado tequila (aged two to 12 months in oak barrels). Playing with the ingredients to concoct your favorite variation makes this versatile cocktail a blank canvas for tequila experimentation.

La Paloma

Serves | 1 |

  • 2 oz blanco tequila, preferably Espolon
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • grapefruit soda
  • grapefruit wedge or lime wedge, for garnish

| Preparation | Mix tequila, lime juice and salt in a shaker. Add ice and shake for 15 seconds. Fill a Collins glass with fresh ice, and strain the drink into the glass. Top with grapefruit soda and stir briefly to incorporate throughout. Garnish with a grapefruit or lime wedge and serve.

La Paloma #2

Serves | 1 |

  • 2 oz blanco tequila, preferably Espolon
  • 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar
  • club soda
  • grapefruit wedge or lime wedge, for garnish

| Preparation | Mix all ingredients except soda and garnish in a shaker. Add ice and shake for 15 seconds. Fill a Collins glass with fresh ice, and strain the drink into the glass. Top with club soda and stir briefly to incorporate throughout. Garnish with a grapefruit or lime wedge and serve.

BARTENDER KNOWLEDGE

All About Agave: Most Mexican spirits are derived from the agave plant. The two most popular and most widely available are tequila and mezcal. While these spirits have similar origins, they are distinctly – and pleasantly – different. According to Origin of Denomination regulations, tequila must be made in the state of Jalisco using Blue Weber agave. It must undergo strict aging requirements that result in four classifications of tequila, each presenting a deeper level of oak influence. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from several different species of agave and is normally not aged. Instead of the agave piñas (cores) being baked, as is done to make tequila, they are slow-roasted over hot coals in pits dug into the ground. The pits are covered with leaves to trap the heat and smoke, imparting the piñas with a rich, smoky flavor that carries over to the finished spirit. To learn more about these Mexican mainstay liquors, and for more cocktail recipes, check out Mexican Spirits.


Matt Seiter is a co-founder of the United States Bartenders’ Guild’s St. Louis chapter, a member of the national board for the USBG’s MA program and a continuing educator for all desiring knowledge of the craft of mixology. He is a member of Drink Lab and is the creator of the Sanctuaria Cocktail Club.

Copyright 2015 Feast Magazine | Inspired Local Food Culture/Midwest. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.