While in the United States the Margarita is considered Mexico’s signature cocktail, fans of tequila drinks and regular visitors to Mexico know that the less famous Paloma is as deserving of praise. One such reason is its simplicity: some recipes call for a mix of tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, sweetener and club soda, but more commonly you’ll find it as a simple highball of tequila and grapefruit soda, maybe with a squeeze of lime. There’s really no need to overthink it, unless you’re bartending professional and writer Scott Beattie, author of “Artisanal Cocktails.” His take on the drink, the Smoky Paloma, is anything but simplistic, using not one but three different spirits, plus egg whites and agave nectar.
No matter how complex it is compared to the base recipe, the Smoky Paloma still begins with tequila. Here, Beattie uses Tres Agaves blanco, but any good quality blanco tequila can do the trick—feel free to use your favorite, or whatever your have on your home bar. But it’s not the only agave spirit present, as the drink gets its name from the addition of mezcal, specifically Del Maguey Vida, a very popular choice of mezcal amongst bartenders. It’s only a half-ounce, so the smokiness is present but subtle.
The biggest deviation from the classic Paloma is the use of grapefruit vodka—Beattie uses Charbay ruby red grapefruit vodka, but you can use another, or even try your hand at infusing your own grapefruit vodka. In any case, it adds an interesting depth to the drink.
The Smoky Paloma still calls for grapefruit juice, as well as lime, and is sweetened with agave nectar rather than simple syrup for even more agave notes. Then, rather than being topped with club soda, the drink is shaken with egg white for a foamy, frothy quality rather than bubbly. It’s a unique take on a classic drink, and while it’s not as easy as cracking open a bottle of grapefruit soda and mixing it with tequila, it’s well worth the effort.
- 1 ounce Tres Agaves blanco tequila
- 1/2 ounce Del Maguey Vida mezcal
- 1/2 ounce Charbay ruby red grapefruit vodka
- 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce agave nectar
- 1/2 ounce egg white
- Garnish: lime wheel
Add the blanco tequila, mezcal, grapefruit vodka, lime juice, grapefruit juice, agave nectar and egg white to a shaker and dry-shake (without ice) for 10 seconds.
Fill with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a lime wheel.
RAW EGG WARNING
Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.