Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

Cantarito

Cantarito cocktail
Image:

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

If you love a good Paloma, you might just find a new favorite cocktail in the Cantarito, a similar drink that adds more citrus juices and a pinch of salt to the refreshing mix of tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. The most distinguishing feature of the cocktail, however, is the drinking vessel in which it is served and for which it’s named. 

A diminutive of the Spanish word for pitcher, cántaro, the cantarito is a small earthenware clay jug that originated in Jalisco, the Mexican state where tequila is produced. The cántaro was once used for gathering and storing water; the smaller version is now most often a vessel for tequila and other drinks, including pulque, aguas frescas, chicha, Micheladas, and, of course, its eponymous cocktail. 

Like the Paloma, the Cantarito drink has undefinable origins. In contemporary times, it is perhaps most commonly slung from roadside stands throughout Mexico, where variations abound. It is typically made with grapefruit, lime, and orange juices, but you might also find versions that use other juices. Many are rimmed with the chile-lime seasoning Tajín, while some add chamoy, a popular condiment made of fruit, dried chiles, and lime juice. 

Regardless of the ingredients used, the cantarito cup itself insulates the drink, a major selling point in Jalisco’s subtropical heat. The idea of keeping a drink cold with clay’s temperature-retaining properties is hardly unique to Mexico. The cantarito, which is sometimes called a jarrito de barro, bears similarities to the copa de barro that is often used to chill and serve Cuba’s oldest known cocktail, the Canchánchara. The alkalinity of the clay also helps to neutralize the acids in the citrus juices, balancing the drink’s flavors. 

You can buy cantarito cups online in various sizes, although you can also make the cocktail in a Collins glass. If you are using a cantarito cup, soak the cup in cold water for 10 minutes before shaking up a drink to ensure it is ice-cold. The recipe below calls for reposado tequila, but you can use blanco tequila, if you prefer, for a crisper flavor profile; Jarritos and Squirt are common grapefruit soda brands that are easy to find stateside. And don’t fear the salt shaker: Adding a pinch of salt to the drink enhances its citrus flavors. 

Whether or not you drink the Cantarito from its namesake cup, you’ll get a refreshing taste of Jalisco.

Ingredients

  • Tajín seasoning (for rim)

  • 2 ounces reposado tequila

  • 3/4 ounce grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed

  • 3/4 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 pinch salt

  • Grapefruit soda, chilled, to top (about 3 ounces)

  • Garnish: lime wedge

Steps

  1. Prepare a clay cantarito cup by soaking it in cold water for 10 minutes.

  2. Rim the cantarito cup with Tajín seasoning.

  3. Add the tequila, fruit juices, and salt into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  4. Strain into the prepared cantarito cup (or a Collins glass) over fresh ice.

  5. Top with the grapefruit soda and stir briefly and gently to combine.

  6. Garnish with a lime wedge.