La Paloma


To beat that deep summer heat we turn to certain staples, often from south of the border. The Mexican beer Cerveza, like Dos Equis, is cold and is best straight out of the bottle God put it in, maybe with a lime wedge jammed down the neck. Refreshing! Many more will turn to the margarita, frozen or on the rocks, which is always refreshing.

While beer and tequila maybe the best-selling booze overall, in Mexico but the most popular single spirit – you may be surprised to learn — is Presidente Brandy. I don’t recommend it unless mixed in a generous amount of Coke.

Equally surprising for some, maybe the fact that the margarita is not the obvious king of the hill in cocktail culture. For many it is, but for many more, the Cinco de Mayo staple is edged out by La Paloma, Spanish for dove. In Mexico, they sell it pre-canned.

The Paloma is firmly in the tradition of simple cocktails. Think a gin and tonic or Cuba Libre, two central ingredients accompanied by a garnish.

Instead of the cola candy-sweet rum drink or the dry botanical simplicity of G’n’T a Paloma is made with tequila and grapefruit soda. Think Fresca or Jarritos. It will make you pucker. 

There is no documented origin story to the drink, which is perhaps fitting for something so simple and refreshing. It exists like a universal truth.

Best guesses show that Squirt, another grapefruit soda associated with the drink, was exported to Mexico in the mid-twentieth century. Around the same time, Jarritos was developed. Tequila has been mass-produced as we know it since the 1600s. One can assume it didn't take long for some parched individual somewhere along the border to pour one over the other and share it with a friend. It is not hard to see how something so simple and satisfying would spread from there.

La Paloma


2 ounces reposado tequila

half ounce lime juice

pinch of salt

grapefruit soda

Directions: combine the tequila, lime juice and salt in a tall glass, add ice, top off with grapefruit soda and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge. Rim the glass with salt if you feel like it.