Forget what you’ve heard – possibly even from me – about the margarita. The real national drink of Mexico is a simpler concoction that showcases tequila to greater effect than its better known relative, and if anything may be more refreshing.
Still more important is the final element: grapefruit soda. It’s a magnificent time-saving step, adding sourness and sass in one fell swoop. The traditional choice in Mexico is Squirt, with some favoring Ting from Jamaica or, madre de dios, Fresca. My personal preference is Jarritos, for two reasons:
1. It’s authentically Mexican.
2. It’s available in the store in my building.
As La Paloma has caught on north of the border, bartenders are classing them up with fresh grapefruit juice for tartness and club soda for fizz. These Palomas, along with those made with mezcal, tequila’s smokier cousin, can be sublime. But I have no quarrel with the down-to-earth original. I’ve always been a man of the people.
Alcademics offers a round-up of twenty Paloma variations including an earlier Cocktail of the Week, the 212.
2 oz. tequila
½ oz. lime juice
pinch of salt
several oz. grapefruit soda
Combine the first three ingredients in a Collins glass. Add ice, then soda. Stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.