Try this cocktail-with-a-twist! This is a Rosemary Paloma, the Mexican staple of tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime juice with the herbal hint.
The Paloma is one of Mexico’s signature drinks. In fact, were you to visit our neighbors to the south, you’d encounter Palomas pretty much as often as you’d see Margaritas (which is A LOT!). Both drinks contain tequila (I mean, this IS Mexico, after all) and lime, but the Paloma changes things up with the addition of grapefruit soda, giving the cocktail a slightly tart taste. No one is exactly sure who created the Paloma or how, but some believe the drink has been around 1860s Mexico when it was named after a folk song, “La Paloma” (or, “the dove” in Spanish). Others credit Don Javier Delgado Corona, the owner of La Capilla in Tequila, Mexico, though a date for that origin story is hard to ascertain.
But wait! This is a Rosemary Paloma, so where does the rosemary enter the equation? The herb is worked into the simple syrup, giving the drink a sweet and herbaceous taste that goes down very smoothly. It reminds me of a Pomegranate Margarita, in which another Mexican tequila-based cocktail is joined by a fragrant ingredient, but the Rosemary Paloma limits its fruitiness to lime and grapefruit. If you’re keen on trying something with tequila but tire of margaritas, try the Rosemary Paloma.
What Is Tequila?
Tequila is a spirit made from the fermented juices of the blue agave plant. It is produced exclusively (so says the Mexican government) in the Jalisco region, home to the town of Tequila, which grants the liquor its name. There are different types of tequila, with age differentiating one from the other. Blanco (silver) is light in color and taste. It doesn’t overpower, so it mixes well with other ingredients. Reposado is aged in oak casks from two months to a year and bears a slight amber color. Next in line are Añejo and Extra Añejo (aged and extra aged, respectively). The first is aged for one to three years, whereas the latter is kept for periods longer than that. The older the tequila, the richer the taste, typically. It’s these varieties that resemble whiskey the most and make for good sippers.
- 2 oz. tequila preferably silver
- 3 oz. grapefruit soda
- 1 oz. lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- ice cubes
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved. Add the rosemary sprigs. Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Once cooled, strain into a jar, discarding the rosemary sprigs.
- Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, and the rosemary simple syrup. Stir to combine.
- Top off your drink with grapefruit soda. Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig and a grapefruit wedge.
Tips & Tricks to Make a Perfect Rosemary Paloma
Use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for its taste and to avoid the sugars and additives in the store-bought variety.
If you can’t find grapefruit soda, use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and add soda water.
For a fancier version, replace the grapefruit soda with grapefruit juice and cava.
If you prefer, add all the ingredients to a shaker and shake for approximately 30 seconds to ensure all the flavors are adequately melded.
Other Paloma Variations
The Paloma: The O.G. Paloma. The same as the Rosemary Paloma but unsurprisingly, without the rosemary.
Spicy Paloma: Jalapeno and hot sauce justify the ‘spicy’ label.
Mezcal Paloma: Replace the tequila with mezcal, its smoky cousin.
Ruby Red Paloma: Use ruby red grapefruit juice instead of standard grapefruit juice for a sweeter drink.
Paloma Mocktail: Skip the tequila in favor of more grapefruit soda.