Easy 4-Step Mezcal Paloma Recipe to Surprise Your Guests
Sipping mezcal straight on Tuesday with my boss is one of the more unusual workdays I’ve had in a while. But, as is true of many changes in routine, it sparked a bit of creativity and inspired the creation of this Spicy Mezcal Paloma recipe.
On a recent group trip to Oaxaca, we spent three days immersing ourselves in the city’s vibrant arts, food, and culture (see Camille’s list of favorites here). Of course, a mezcal taste has been assured that Oaxaca is the home of this smoky spirit. The experience has me itching to infuse more mezcal moments into my cocktails this summer. Enter: this spicy Mezcal Paloma recipe.
I’ll start by confessing that this recipe is breaking a basic rule of mezcal drinking. We already know that mezcal is meant to be sipped immediately, rather than mixed into cocktails. But if you’re like me, you might need some fresh juice and soda to ease you on your mezcal-boosting journey. Plus, it’s hard to say no to a classic, thirst-quenching Paloma — so let’s get started.
What is Paloma?
Traditional Mexican Paloma made with tequila blanco and grapefruit soda. This version is a classic, using a mixture of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and carbonated water. The result is a citrusy cocktail without being overly sweet. This recipe also calls for tequila blanco along with mezcal to balance out the flavors and round out the drink. In the end, I find that using honey gives my cocktail a little sweetness without causing a headache. And don’t forget your sliced jalapeño and chili salt for an extra kick!
What is the difference between tequila and mezcal?
Mezcal has been produced in Mexico for centuries, and believe it or not, tequila is actually a type of mezcal. Both tequila and mezcal are derived from the agave plant, but the types of agave and production methods vary for each type of alcohol. When we tasted it, we learned that mezcal production is deeply rooted in tradition and begins with cooking in the ground in natural ovens. It is then distilled in copper pots, giving it a distinctive smoky flavor. However, we do know that the more authentic the mezcal, the less smoky it tastes.
What you will need to make this Mezcal Paloma recipe
This Mezcal Paloma is a unique combination of many flavors: sour, smoky, spicy and just a little sweet. What more could you want in a drink? Here’s what you need to make this cocktail in less than five minutes:
- A delicious tequila blanco. I prefer LALO.
- Your favorite Mezcal. I’m a Madre fan.
- A few lemons. Freshly squeezed lemonade makes all the difference.
- Grapefruit. You can choose store-bought grapefruit juice, but the drink will taste best if you juice it yourself.
- Honey. For a little sweetness.
- Sparkling water. It will give your Paloma that extra. I love Topo chico.
- Jalapeno peppers. A little goes a long way!
- Salt and pepper. You can buy store-bought chili salt or make your own (instructions below!).
When it comes to garnish, I used fresh herbs like rosemary, lemon or grapefruit, and even sliced cucumber.
What pairs well with Mezcal Paloma?
These Mezcal Palomas wowed the crowd at my house this summer. They pair well with some of our favorite summer recipes. Mix a batch and enjoy your cocktail alongside pan-fried chicken fajitas, pistachio halibut or one of our all-time best taco recipes. For summer get-togethers, I like to double (or triple!) the recipe and prepare it in a large pitcher for friends to pour over ice when they’re ready for a cocktail.