If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that I’m all about making the most of seasonal ingredients. This is how this rhubarb-raspberry Paloma came to be: I bought a ton of beautiful raspberries and rhubarb at the farmers market, and I needed to figure out a way to preserve both of these ingredients at their peak.
The finished product is tart, smoky, and refreshing, making it perfect for a summer barbecue or a Fourth of July celebration. The fact that it’s the prettiest shade of pink also doesn’t hurt. 🙂
I wanted to make something that would last for a while, so I went for a syrup. The beauty of making a fruit-flavored syrup is that, since it contains so much sugar, it actually keeps in the fridge for a long time. You can then use it to top ice cream, pancakes or, as I did in this case, to make cocktails. The syrup technically makes this a four-ingredient cocktail, but since it’s so easy to make and you can use it in so many different ways, I decided to cheat a little bit and not count it this time around.
Most people associate Mexico with margaritas, but Palomas are actually the most popular cocktail in this country. This cocktail traditionally features tequila, grapefruit soda, and a squeeze of lime juice. Yes, it’s that easy. You can also use freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice if you absolutely can’t find any grapefruit soda, but most supermarkets carry it nowadays.
For this version, I decided to use mezcal instead of tequila. I cannot explain to you how much I love mezcal. It’s super smoky when compared to tequila, and it usually has a very distinct aroma. I’ve had the opportunity to taste several varieties thanks to a kind friend who brought me a selection of bottles from a small mezcaleria in Oaxaca, and some of them have an aroma that can only be described as similar to that of cowhide.
Mezcal is made from the heart of the agave plant through a rather arduous process that yields very small quantities of the spirit. This is why it tends to be harder to find and more expensive than most tequila. For this cocktail, I’ve used “Vida,” one of the smoothest and fruitiest varieties produced by Del Maguey. All of their mezcal is amazing, but Vida is definitely the best one for mixing in cocktails and the most affordable as well. If you can’t find mezcal or it’s just not your thing (some people really hate it), then feel free to use tequila instead. I would recommend a silver rather than a reposado.
The Rhuberry Mezcal Paloma
This rhubarb-raspberry Paloma is made with mezcal rather than tequila. It's sweet, tart, and smoky, making it perfect for summer barbecues or a Fourth of July celebration.
- For the raspberry-rhubarb syrup:
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- For the Rhuberry Paloma:
- ¼ oz lime juice
- 2 oz mezcal (I used Vida by Del Maguey)
- 4 oz soda
- 1¼ oz syrup (recipe follows)
- Step 1 Make the syrup: Bring the water, sugar, and rhubarb to a boil and simmer for 15 mins. Add the raspberries and simmer for an extra 5 mins or until the raspberries begin to break down. Let the mixture cool a little bit and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or glass container, pushing on the solids with wooden spoon to extract all the liquid. Pour the syrup into a clean container and seal it tightly. You should end up with 1.5-2 cups of syrup. It will keep in the fridge for several weeks and up to a month. The leftover rhubarb and raspberry solids make a great “jam.” You can put it on toast or use it to top pancakes.
- Step 2 To make the Paloma: Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour the lime juice, mezcal, and syrup into the glass and stir lightly. Top with the soda and stir again if necessary. Palomas can also be served in short glasses, but you will have to adjust the ratios for the cocktail to make sure that it doesn’t overflow.