How to mix the classic Paloma cocktail with grapefruit beer. Beer style suggestions.
Fine-Tuning a Classic
A classic Paloma is a mix of one part tequila to three parts grapefruit soda and a good squeeze of lime juice.
It is Mexico’s best loved tequila cocktail, in translation the name means ‘dove’. Sometimes freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, a bit of sugar and plain soda water are used but for the most part it is a grapefruit soda.
And as any fan of the original will tell you – the choice of grapefruit soda matters. In Mexico the favored brand is Jarritos – refreshing sodas made with real fruit and cane sugar that taste quite a bit better than any corn syrup or artificial sweetener flavored soda. A Paloma mixed with Jarritos de toronja is greenish in color, not pink, owing to white grapefruit.
This grapefruit beer Paloma is a fun craft beer twist on the classic cocktail – absolutely fragrant, not overly sweet, with all natural ingredients and loaded with grapefruit essence.
You will like this drink if you have an appreciation of herbal and citrusy flavors in general, but you will love it if you enjoy the unique flavor of grapefruit.
How to Mix a Paloma Cocktail with Grapefruit Beer
For a Paloma drink with beer you will need the ingredients pictured below:
- Tequila – go with reposado or blanco – as with the Tequila Mule there is no point to use expensive aged tequilas when mixing a cocktail.
- Lime juice – freshly squeezed, do not use any kind of dubious store bought concoction; also a lime wedge for rimming the glass and slices or wedges for garnishing.
- Salt – to rim the glass and if you’d like – to add a pinch to the cocktail itself.
- Grapefruit beer – see below for styles suggestions.
- Grapefruit – for garnish and/or for a squeeze of fresh juice if desired.
- Ice cubes
You will also need a small plate for the rimming salt, a cocktail jigger and a stirrer.
Step by Step Process
The typical Paloma garnish is a lime wedge but you can also prepare a slice of grapefruit for each glass and/or a couple of grapefruit twists.
- Start by running a wedge of lime around the rim of a glass and then press the moistened rim into the salt as shown below.
- Add ice cubes and a slice of grapefruit (optional).
- Measure out the tequila and lime juice and pour them over the ice.
- Fill the glass with grapefruit beer, wait for the foam to settle a bit, top with more beer and give a gentle stir to all the ingredients before adding the garnish.
What Kind of Grapefruit Beer to Use
Grapefruit beer per se is not an official style as we have previously discussed.
However there are many wonderful craft brews with unmistakable grapefruit aroma and taste. Whether flavored via the addition of the fresh fruit, its rind, grapefruit puree or the masterful use of specialty hops or both methods – grapefruit beers are widely available.
Look for examples of these styles:
- If you generally like the sweetness of grapefruit soda, go with a shandy/radler type of grapefruit beer. These can be lagers or ales, there are many commercial examples.
- Wheat ales are often flavored with grapefruit – both Hefeweizens and Belgian wits. There are hundreds of examples.
- Lagers flavored with grapefruit – try the Abita Beer Grapefruit Honey Lager.
- Pale ales and IPAs are naturals and examples of each are abundant. Ballast Point Brewing Grapefruit Sculpin IPA is our favorite.
- Grapefruit sours are also frequently dreamed up by imaginative brewers – we love Grand Teton Brewing Company Grapefruit Gose and the Deschutes Brewery Grapefruit Rose Sour Ale.
- Saisons like Four Corners Brewing Queen Bee Grapefruit Saison.
For the Paloma cocktails in this post we used Great Divide Roadie Radler – a local ale flavored with a ton of grapefruit puree and Stone Brewing Ripper Pale Ale flavored with Cascade and Galaxy hops for a dominant grapefruit presence, especially on the nose.
The radler version was as always outstanding – the Roadie is a superb grapefruit ale.
The pale ale version we had to doctor up with a squeeze of grapefruit juice – hops impart a ton of aroma but the unique taste of grapefruit, including its natural sweetness was lacking. The Grapefruit Sculpin IPA suggested above remains our top choice for a Paloma.
CAUTIONARY NOTE: This goes without saying, but beware the alcohol content of your grapefruit beer Paloma.
Typically flavored beers sold as radlers or shandies have low ABV in the vicinity of 4%, so do many wheat ales, sours and saisons, but it is still more than the zero of grapefruit soda and has its impact.
Use less tequila if your grapefruit pale ale of IPA is on the potent side.
Choice of Glassware
Commonly you will see Paloma drinks served in a highball glass but this is not a rule set in stone.
For the grapefruit beer version, we like to use whiskey glasses because the beer foam has easier time settling down over the larger surface area.
Additionally, a wider glass has a larger rim which means more salt. If you care about such things I am sure you can appreciate the notion of more salt around the rim of your cocktail glass.
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- 2 oz tequila (reposado or blanco)
- 0.5 oz lime juice (freshly squeezed)
- 6 oz grapefruit beer* (grapefruit radler, wheat ale, IPA or pale ale)
- 4-5 ice cubes
- coarse salt (optional, pink Himalayan salt works great)
- lime wedge or slice for garnish (optional)
- grapefruit slice or twist for garnish (optional)
- Cut a lime wedge and moisten the rim of your glass all around. Dip the rim into salt. Carefully place a few ice cubes in the rimmed glass and add a grapefruit slice if desired.
- Add the tequila, then lime juice and top with grapefruit beer. Wait for the foam of the beer to settle and add some more to fill the glass completely.
- Give a gentle stir, garnish with a lime wedge and/or grapefruit twist and enjoy!
*Read the relevant section in the post for specific brews appropriate for this Paloma drink.
If the beer of your choice has an alcohol by volume content that is on the high side (6.5% or more) consider using a bit less tequila so as not to mix a drink that is too potent.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 417 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1026mg Carbohydrates: 41g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 12g Protein: 9g