Whenever warm weather is present, I have a massive craving for Mexican food and an ice-cold cocktail. Maybe it’s because I grew up in San Diego, but tacos, guac, and an adult beverage on a hot day just feel so right to me. Although your girl loves a margarita, it’s fun to mix things up, so today I’m sharing how to make a mezcal Paloma. This refreshing cocktail has a tart kick from fresh grapefruit juice, a touch of smokiness from mezcal, and the perfect amount of fizz thanks to sparkling water.
What’s in a Mezcal Paloma?
This mezcal Paloma is a spin on the classic. I have been on a mezcal kick, so thought it would be fun to add it into this Paloma.
A traditional Paloma contains tequila rather than mezcal, and mixed with grapefruit soda and lime juice. In this recipe, I swapped out the tequila for mezcal to add a subtle smoky flavor. I love how it contrasts with the sweetness and tartness of the grapefruit soda and juice.
What is Mezcal?
This is kind of like the saying, “every square is a rectangle but not every rectangle is a square.”
Any agave-based liquor is a type of mezcal. What makes tequila and mezcal different is not only because they’re grown in different regions from different types off agave plants, they are distilled differently.
Both liquors use the agave plant’s core called the piña. To make tequila, the piñas steam in ovens, then get distilled in copper pots. To make mezcal, the piñas cook in an underground pit lined with charcoal and wood, then distilled in clay pots. It is for this reason that mezcal has its smoky flavor.
If you love mezcal, try my spicy mezcal margarita!
Here’s What You’ll Need
- A lime
- Sea salt
- Grapefruit soda (I found this at Trader Joe’s)
- Fresh grapefruit juice
- Simple syrup (see below)
- Sparkling water
Don’t forget a cocktail shaker and ice.
How to Make a Mezcal Paloma
- Rim your glass with salt. Pour a generous amount of sea salt onto a small plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then gently press the rim of the glass into your salt. You may need to wiggle your glass in the salt a little bit to get a decent amount onto the rim.
- Add ice and everything except the sparkling water to your cocktail shaker and shake to mix.
- Fill your glass and top with sparkling water. The carbonation of the sparkling water is just the extra fizz you need for this wam weather drink. I added a grapefruit wedge and and an edible flower to jazz up each of my mezcal Palomas.
How to Make Simple Syrup
If you’re intimated by simple syrup, don’t be. Until I made this mezcal Paloma, I never made simple syrup in my life. Once I learned how easy it was to make, I regretted not making drinks with it sooner.
All you have to do is boil equals parts sugar and water. That is literally it.
While the water heats up the sugar will dissolve, and once it has, you remove from the burner. EASY.
The recipe below calls for 1 oz of simply syrup per cocktail. I recommend making a bigger batch (1/2 cup to 1/2 cup) and using what you need, then saving the rest for future cocktails. Simple syrup can stay for up to a month in a sealed, refrigerated container.
- 2 oz mezcal
- 2 oz grapefruit soda
- 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice (about 1/2 a grapefruit)
- 1 oz simple syrup (see above)
- sparkling water
- grapefruit wedge, for garnish
- sea salt to rim glass
- lime wedge to rim glass
- Rim your glass with sea salt. To do this, pour a generous amount of sea salt onto a small plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then gently press the rim of the glass into your salt. You may need to wiggle the glass in the salt a little bit to get a decent amount onto the rim.
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker, then add in the mezcal, grapefruit soda, grapefruit juice, and simply syrup. Shake vigorously until the shaker feels cold.
- Pour into your salted glass, then top off with sparkling water and a grapefruit wedge to garnish.