Measure & Stir

A Craft Cocktail Blog for the Home Bartender that Focuses on Original Creations Drawn from Culinary Inspiration.


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Strawberry Paloma

I made some strawberry-infused blanco tequila last May for the Alice In Wonderland #2, and since then I have been looking for other applications that suit it. Some readers may remember it from the Rafaela, a strawberry and chocolate variation on my favorite mezcal drink.  Last Saturday for a pregame, my homies and I decided to make a grapefruit juice version of a Paloma, the most popular tequila drink in mexico. Usually a simple combination of grapefruit soda and tequila, the Paloma can also be made with fresh grapefruit and lime juice, and that is exactly what I did.

I have never been crazy about grapefruit juice as a cocktail ingredient. Its flavor is too mild, too watery, and too subtle. I’m told that older grapefruits used to have a bitter flavor to them, but it has been bred out of modern commercial grapefruits in what I imagine was an attempt to sell more. The watery quality of juice from a fresh grapefruit from the supermarket is disappointing, and so is everything into which you mix it. Even so, the Strawberry Paloma:

Strawberry Paloma
1.5 oz Strawberry-infused Tequila (But stick to un-infused tequila, it’s better in this)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Honey Syrup

Shake over ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

On account of the above-mentioned difficulties with grapefruit juice, I could not find a balance of grapefruit juice to tequila in this drink that I loved. The idea to use honey syrup came from a similar pairing in the between grapefruit and honey in the Brown Derby. That worked pretty well, but the strawberry tequila kind of fell flat. Stick to un-infused agave spirits for this one, to really focus on the flavor of the base. The strawberry infusion produced an almost tart flavor in the tequila, and it might pair well with yoghurt or cream, but it did not work well with grapefruit.

Speaking of grapefruits, the peel sank, looking pretty, but providing no aroma. A parable.


4 Comments

arts district

Thank you, Chuck Taggart, for giving me so many excellent ideas! I am a sucker for Cynar, and a huge fan of rye and Benedictine, so this recipe drew me like a moth to a flame. It’s not the most daring or unusual drink, but if you like them brown, bitter, and stirred, then this is a drink for you.

Arts District

2 oz rye (RI1)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Benedictine
grapefruit peel (expressed)

To express the oil in a piece of citrus peel, simply squeeze it over the surface of the drink. A mist of citrus oil will spray out and float on top, providing a crisp, aromatic experience for both the imbiber and the bartender. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a drink with grapefruit oil before, and I found it to be a rewarding experience. The bitterness from the grapefruit made an intriguing contrast with the bitterness from the Cynar, because one is vegetal and the other is fruity.

The Arts District was a welcome study in bitter flavors, although the the rye whiskey was overshadowed by the strong herbal qualities of the liqueurs. That might have been my fault for using RI1, which is delicate for a rye. Even with that minor complaint, the drink is well put-together, with an excellent balance between the Cynar and the Benedictine, and a pleasing sweetness that spans the flavor ‘spectrum’.