Contrary to popular belief, the Paloma, not the margarita, is Mexico’s most popular drink, and we’ve got a recipe for you.
Light and refreshing, the paloma is great to drink March to July. You might not have made one for National Cocktail Day on March 24, but you’re in time to celebrate with one on Cinco de Mayo, and then again and again right through till National Tequila Day on July 24.
We reached out for a recipe from Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, which was founded 35 years ago in Colorado by three guys from the Gulf Coast. At the restaurant’s five locations — Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, Greeley, and Park Meadows — the legendary classic margaritas get lots of love. (Fun fact: The Rio is the largest on-site purveyor of José Cuervo in the country, pouring nearly a million margaritas every year.)
And there’s lots more love where tequila’s concerned: more than 60 tequilas, including 17 vault tequilas that are kept in hand-welded vaults under lock and key, 11 citrus-based tequila cocktails, and a full-time tequila ambassador on staff.
One of Rio Grande Mexican’s most popular tequila-based cocktails is the paloma. Their version puts a spin on the traditional paloma with the addition of Aperol — “an Italian aperitif with scents of orange and rhubarb as the dominant flavors and other herb infusions” — and a garnish of dehydrated grapefruit wheel.
Here’s the recipe to try at home — the optional dehydrated grapefruit wheel garnish is very cool and surprisingly not too daunting.
¡Salud, pesetas, y amor, y tiempo para gozarlos! Health, love, money, and the time to enjoy them!
The Rio’s Paloma recipe
5 ounces ice
2 ounces Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver or another silver tequila
½ ounce Aperol
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (Ruby Reds from Texas are best, especially November through April)
1 fluid ounce soda water (we like Topo Chico)
(Optional garnish) Dehydrated grapefruit wheel (instructions below)
Shake all ingredients except the soda with ice. Pour into a collins glass, top with soda, and stir. Place optional dehydrated grapefruit wheel garnish in glass.
To create a dehydrated grapefruit wheel, use a mandolin or knife to cut a wheel of grapefruit. Grill on a gas grill over a high flame for no more than one minute on each side. You’ll want to see the grill marks, but not cook the fruit. Let it cool.