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Non-Alcoholic Drinks: The Paloma Cocktail
Say it isn’t so summer! As the warm weather comes to a close, one of the things I’ll miss the most is this paloma cocktail (or mocktail, if you will). Traditionally made with tequila and grapefruit, this non-alcoholic paloma drink brings spritzy satisfaction using grapefruit juice, plenty of fresh lime, simple syrup and fizzy water.
What is a Paloma Cocktail?
I’ll admit. I met the paloma this summer. My friend Erin brought them to a driveway party just as soon as we were allowed to be in each other’s (socially-distant) company. I’ve never looked back. Palomas are the ultimate cocktail on a hot summer’s day. If you need a mental image, picture this: similar to a margarita, palomas are a sweet-and-sour cocktail that hails from Mexico. They’re best served cold with a salted (or in my case, sugared) rim and enjoyed under the shining sun while the ice slowly melts and the glass sweats.
The Paloma Cocktail: Non-Alcoholic Version
Of course, on the particular day that my friend Erin showed up on the driveway, our palomas were full-tilt. Who can blame us? We’d been separated by Covid-19 for weeks and weeks…completely caught off guard (who wasn’t) by the depth and breadth of homeschooling our children.
These days though, as Covid-19 drags on, I’ve been mixing it up. Sometimes I’ll serve a traditional paloma and sometimes I prefer the non-alcoholic version — particularly if I’m having one mid-day or post mountain bike ride. Nothing satisfies after a dusty day on the trail like a thirst-quenching, grapefruit-based drink.
My non-alcoholic version is pretty simple: grapefruit juice and fizzy water, simple syrup and lime juice. Oh, and as I mentioned above, I prefer a sugared rim to a salted one. While you might be a skeptic, I find that I don’t really miss the tequila at all. It’s really nice to have a refreshing drink and get on with my day without the post-drink sluggishness.
What is Simple Syrup?
If you’re new to simple syrup, it’s just a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water that is reduced to a syrup. Because simple syrup is a liquid, it’s much easier to blend with the grapefruit juice and fizzy water than table sugar would be. To make simple syrup, bring 1 cup of water to a simmer then add 1 cup of white sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Store the simple syrup in the refrigerator. It will last for several weeks.
How to Store Limes
As for the lime juice, fresh is best. That I’ve always known. But here’s something I didn’t know – lemons and limes are best stored in the refrigerator. This discovery thwarts my former go-to storage methodology which has always been store it the way you bought it. Lemons and limes, if you recall, are in the produce section but not in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store. That’s why I was surprised to learn this bit from Cook’s Illustrated: lemons and limes stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator last up to four times as long as they would on the kitchen counter.
How to Salt the Rim of a Glass
Here’s another trick I picked up when I fell in love with the paloma cocktail: how to salt the rim of a glass. Or, in this case, sugar the rim of a glass. In the past, I’ve always wet the edge of my glass with water and then dunked it into a pile of salt (or sugar). No longer. The better technique is to moisten the edge of your glass with a lime.
To try this technique, cut a notch across the center of the lime wedge, then fit the lime over the edge of your glass and trace it along the rim. Then fill a small plate with about ¼” of salt (or sugar) and tip the edge of the glass as you roll it through the salt (or sugar) so that only the outside edge of the glass gets covered. This way, you won’t muck up the ratio of your drink by inadvertently adding extra salt or sugar to it. Smart, right?!
What’s in My Kitchen to Make This Paloma Cocktail Recipe Easier?
Want to know what tools and resources I keep on hand to make my vegan cooking even easier? Here’s a short list of what helped me create this blog post and recipe. For the complete list, visit my Shop where you can find the kitchen gadgets I like as well as a list of books that I recommend.
The Drinkmate Sparkling Water Maker is one of my most favorite kitchen appliances. In fact, it might just be one of my most favorite kitchen possessions. I drink “spicy water” as we like to call it my house all day, every day and I was starting to feel pretty guilty about all of those cans I was going through. Enter the Drinkmate. I prefer it to the SodaStream (I owned one of those previously) because the water stays carbonated longer.
I maintain that this is an essential kitchen tool. Yes, I know that you can squeeze a lemon (or lime, or orange) with your hands, but do that and then try this and see just how much more juice you get from each fruit. It also has the added benefit of separating (most) of the seeds from the juice.
No, that’s not the brand. It’s just the idea! But, I own this set of Global™ knives and They’re some of my most prized possessions in the kitchen. This set is universally well-rated for the at-home chef and will get you a good, solid set of knives without totally breaking the bank.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks: The Paloma Cocktail
Say it isn’t so summer! As the warm weather comes to a close, one of the things I’ll miss the most is this palmona cocktail (or mocktail, if you will). Traditionally made with tequila and grapefruit, this non-alcoholic paloma drink brings spritzy satisfaction using grapefruit juice, plenty of fresh lime, simple syrup and fizzy water.
- 1 quart grapefruit juice
- 2 cups sparkling water I like to make my own using my Drinkmate
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice + lime wedges as garnishment
- 2 tbsp simple syrup see my blog post for directions to making simple syrup
- sugar to rim the glasses
Combine the fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice with the sparkling water, simple sugar and fresh lime juice. For tips on how to make simple sugar, see my blog post.
Cut a notch across each wedge of lime, then fit the notch over the edge of your glass. Trace the rim of the glass with the lime. Remove the lime then pour about ¼” of white sugar on to a plate. Tip the edge of the glass so that only the outside of the rim is touching the sugar, then roll the glass to trim the entire rim of the glass with a fine layer of sugar.
Addthe non-alcoholic paloma cocktail and lime slices. Serve immediately.
About Herbivore’s Kitchen
Herbivore’s Kitchen is a blog run by me, a plant-based home chef and aspiring food photographer. I switched my and my family’s diet to a plant-based diet after learning about the health benefits of going vegan. Making this change has prompted a variety of food and holistic-lifestyle related questions that I explore through this blog. I talk about how to pick and prepare the most nutritious foods, to how to reduce waste at home, to how to live a more sustainable lifestyle while on the road.