When it comes to tequila cocktail hierarchy, there’s no dethroning the Margarita. This classic cocktail of tequila, lime juice, and triple sec is perfect and elegant in its simplicity. Tart, sweet, and filled with vegetal agave flavor. But if you’re interested in something with a little more kick in terms of citrus flavor, the Paloma is a great, equally simple alternative.
While there are different takes on the recipe, the most basic and classic version calls for tequila, lime juice, and a grapefruit-flavored soda like Fresca, Pellegrino, Jarritos, or Spindrift. A pinch of salt or (if you’re feeling lively) a salted rim makes for an added salinity to even out the tart, sweet, citrus flavors.
And while the use of fresh lime juice and the right grapefruit soda is important, the most pivotal ingredient is the tequila.
While you can get wacky with it and use a reposado or an añejo tequila as the base for your Paloma, that’s not necessary. The goal is to make all the ingredients shine. A long-aged tequila with its nuanced aromas and flavors of roasted agave, vanilla, caramel, and oak is sure to outmatch the other elements. We don’t want that. This is why Blanco or Plata tequila is the right choice.
But not just any Blanco or Plata tequila will do. If you were to stroll into your local liquor store and grab the first plastic-handled bottle of blanco tequila you saw and used it as the base for this cocktail, you might be in for a rude, harsh awakening. And by awakening, we mean that not only will your cocktail taste bad, but you might be in for one killer of a hangover the next day. Don’t go low-quality for this one.
The key is picking a blanco or plata tequila that won’t break the proverbial bank but is also high enough quality to complement the lime, grapefruit soda, and salt. It’s a well-made, flavorful, vegetal sweet, highly mixable bottle.
When mixing a Paloma, we prefer to use Siempre Plata Tequila as the base. This award-winning 100% Blue Weber agave-based tequila is well-known for its mix of agave from two different regions. It’s balanced, flavorful, and exceptionally smooth on its own. But, with cracked black pepper, citrus peels, baked agave, tropical fruit, salted caramel, and floral notes, it pairs perfectly with the salt, lime, and grapefruit soda that make up this iconic cocktail.
While Siempre Plata is a great base for your Paloma, it’s also well-suited for a Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, Ranch Water, and more. It’s a very versatile tequila that deserves a s permanent spot on your home bar cart.
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