At new Chicago restaurant Fat Baby Tacos, mezcal stands in for tequila and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, with simple syrup and club soda forming the grapefruit-soda-like component. However, the real wild card is a spicy chile piquin glass rim–dried, pulverized hot pepper with a smoky-citrusy flavor.
Paloma means “dove” in Spanish, which means this drink’s name translates to “little dove.” This Paloma interpretation at April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman's modern taco restaurant and bar Salvation Taco swaps in vodka for tequila and adds a rim of vanilla-flecked salt but otherwise leaves the original intact.
This Paloma at Nashville’s Pinewood Social winks at the Whiskey Sour, adding lemon alongside grapefruit as the citrusy element, as well as mix of maple and simple syrups to sweeten. It’s missing the fizziness that usually lightens a Paloma, making it a bit more substantial than the original. At Pinewood Social, a spicy chipotle tincture is spritzed over the top of the drink.
This tasty Paloma version at Freek’s Mill in New York City keeps the tequila and lime juice but turns the rest of the drink on its head. Instead of grapefruit soda, pamplemousse liqueur, a splash of Contratto bitter (an apéritif similar to Campari), plus cava provide the right flavor and effervescence. And rather than a pinch of salt, as is customary in a Mexican Paloma, this drink takes a few drops of saline to add that mouthwatering hint.
Beverage director Taha Ismail wanted to do a seasonal riff on a Pisco Sour that was clean and refreshing. Fresh mandarin and yuzu juices make for a citrus-y cordial that offsets Strega’s piney profile, while Peychaud’s bitters meld nicely with the pisco’s floral notes. “This drink has enough complexity without being overwhelming and [is] very consumable on any patio,” he says.
This cocktail, which appears in Kat Odell’s Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails for a Mellow Buzz (Workman Publishing Company, $15.95), was created by Erick Castro of San Diego’s Polite Provisions. It’s a rare drink that uses vermouth as the drink’s main component, notes Odell, as opposed to using vermouth more like a seasoning.
While the rest of humanity sucks back sickly sweet blender bombs this Cinco de Mayo, find your way to a more serious drink. Muddled jalapeño adds a spicy edge to the baked agave flavors of Tequila CAZADORES Reposado for a Margarita that’s fit for the fifth of May—or any other day of the year.