Paloma means “dove” in Spanish, which then means this drink’s name translates to “little dove.” This Paloma interpretation from April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman’s now-shuttered 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.
Despite the rather dramatic swap of tequila for vodka, the Palomita might actually please Paloma purists more than other takes on the drink for one simple reason: the use of grapefruit soda. While Paloma recipes these days often involve fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (and maybe some club soda for carbonation), the original recipe—and the way you’ll find it the majority of the time if you order one in Mexico—calls for grapefruit soda. It doesn’t need to be fancy, either. The Palomita uses Jarritos, which is a popular option, but even a brand like Squirt can absolutely work.
While vodka producers these days aren’t as obsessed with their products being flavorless as they were in the 1990s and 2000s, most versions of the neutral spirit are still considerably less flavorful than tequila. In order to keep the drink layered and interesting, the Palomita gets a rim of vanilla-flecked salt. You can, of course, buy it, but it might be easier to make your own. A simple way is to cut open a vanilla bean pod and scrape the insides out into a small bowl of salt, mixing it to incorporate. Or you can cut a pod up and leave it infusing in salt for a few days or longer. The latter will result in a more subtle vanilla flavor.
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Jarritos grapefruit soda, chilled, to top
- Garnish: vanilla-flecked salt rim
- Garnish: lemon twist
Rim a Collins glass with vanilla-flecked salt.
Add the vodka and lime juice to a shaker with ice and shake.
Strain into the prepared glass over fresh ice.
Top with the soda.
Garnish with a lemon twist.