Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Paloma


Eric Moore

Many a Margarita will be poured as folks raise a glass to Cinco de Mayo. But you may want to alter course and try a Paloma for some authentic cheer. This cocktail, which hails from Mexico—where they drink it instead of Margaritas—is an easy, peaceable drink: “La Paloma” means “the dove,” which is the bird of peace, the bird of salvation. Let’s drink to that!

A simple mix of tequila, lime juice, salt, and citrus-flavored soda, it has a relatively short history and appears to be from Guadalajara or thereabouts, and from no earlier than the 1990s.

The key to this Margarita-esque creation is the soda. When we think “citrus soda” we often think “lemon-lime” or “orange.” But, in Mexico, they tend to think toronja, which is grapefruit.

As cocktail guru David Wondrich noted when he featured this creation in Drinks magazine, the grapefruit soda “…touches the Paloma not only with sweetness, but with a little sourness and even some bitterness, too—both of which are boosted by the lime, whose bitter rind is thrown in along with the juice. Add the saltiness of the salt and you’ve got all four tastes recognized by Western science. But it doesn’t stop there—there’s the tequila, after all. When a proper, 100 percent agave reposado is used, as in Mexico, the spicy, vegetal notes of the tequila seem to combine with everything else to give this deceptively simple drink the elusive ‘fifth taste,’ the meaty, savory sensation the Japanese call umami.”

In Mexico, the preferred sodas for the Paloma are Wink, Squirt, Fresca, and the native Jarritos brand, which may be available in Latin markets locally. (I know some national stores sell the brand, but may not feature the toronja.) More readily available are domestic Squirt or Fresca, which are acceptable alternatives. If you use either of these, add a teaspoon or so of fresh grapefruit juice per drink.

Here’s to peace! Salud!

The Paloma

½ lime
1 ½ oz. reposado tequila
Pinch of kosher salt
Grapefruit soda

Fill a highball glass with ice. Squeeze lime half into it and drop in the shell. Add tequila and salt. Top off with grapefruit soda, stir lightly, and add a straw.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Toast the Royal Wedding with British-Gin Cocktails

As Britain’s Prince Harry and U.S.-actress Megan Markle tie the knot, raise a glass to the happy couple—and those close to you—with wedding-themed tipples

Bottoms-Up Cinnamon Caramel Pinwheels Recipe

With this fast version of a sticky bun, baking at home can be no muss, no fuss—and delicious

Leslie Bock's Newest Bar Wants to Save the Future

"We're attempting to show humans as messy and complicated."

Rosé All Day: The Best Tastings (Some Free)

More than 100 different rosé wines available to try—many for free

Wine Clubs: The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Sip Better figures out your taste for wine and goes deep

Gavin Kaysen Takes Midwest Gold

A quick note on our 2018 James Beard Best Chef: Midwest

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: May

This month, Sue Z. recommends supporting local student chefs with a dinner at Saint Dinette

Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs Recipe

Get fired up for grilling season with tender, flavorful chicken kebabs by meat guru Bruce Aidells and a marinade that also works well with other proteins

My Name Is Jason and I Used to Hate Brunch

Brunch has undergone a renaissance in the Twin Cities. Food critic Jason DeRusha picks his top spots for brunch this year.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags