Cranberry Red Paloma


by Raul Faria

My entry for the Don Julio competition this year was the “Cranberry Red Paloma”. We were challenged with reimaging a classic Mexican cocktail while utilizing ingredients from our hometown area. I chose to go with the Paloma, a classic Mexican cocktail that is combination of Tequila and grapefruit juice or grapefruit soda. My reimagining involved using a homemade grapefruit simple syrup and a homamde grapefruit salt, both of which we will learn how to make today. My hometown additions were sea salt from Cape Cod being used in the grapefruit salt and cranberry flavor from the Leopold Bros Cranberry Liqueur. Nothing says Massachusetts like cranberries and the Cape:) What you end up with is a bright, citrusy, crisp and a little tart and salty. Ready to make one?

1)   Lets get our tools together, now this is going be a bit of an advanced recipe in terms of the prep that we will need to do beforehand so keep that in mind before you plan your next cocktail party. For this cocktail we will need our, Boston Shaker, Hawthorne Strainer, a jigger with a 1 oz and a .5 oz measure. Now for our prep lets get a spice grinder or even a well cleaned coffee grinder, a sheet pan, our muddler, a sauce pan, a pairing knife, a mason jar, a micro plane or fine zester, a couple mixing bowls and a squeeze bottle. Optional equipment: Double-Strainer. Our shopping list will include, Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Leopold Bros Cranberry Liqueur, Bag of Grapefruits (at least six), 1 cup of Sea Salt, 1.5 cups of Sugar and Perrier.

2)   Lets get to our prep, first lets do the Grapefruit Salt. We will need 1 cup of sea salt in a mixing bowl. For this recipe I chose Wellfleet Seat Salt Company’s Cape Cod sea salt. Its really an amazing salt, nice texture, mild and absorbed the grapefruit oils nicely. Next take two large grapefruits and zest them with our micro plane zester. Now use our muddler and grind the grapefruit zest into the salt until well blended. Cover and leave to absorb for 24 hours. The next day take the salt mixture and lay it out on a sheet pan or pizza tray and bake for 1 hour on 150-200 degrees, we are really just trying to dry this out. Now allow the salt to cool for about 45 minutes and when it has cooled we will add the salt mixture to our spice grinder. If you don’t have one, a clean coffee grinder will work just fine. Once we hit it a few times with the grinder pour some on a small plate to rim the glass with and store the rest in a mason jar. The salt is great on chicken or veggies…pretty much whatever. Next we will get our Grapefruit Simple Syrup done. First lets get our two grapefruits worth of zest into a mixing bowl. Now unlike the Grapefruit Salt that requires a smaller sized zest, for the syrup a regular zester will work just fine so use whatever you feel like or have on hand. Now add 1.5 cup of sugar to the bowl and grab that muddler again and get to it. You wanna grind all that zest into the sugar. Cover up the bowl and let sit for 24 hours. The next day add the grapefruit/sugar mixture to a saucepan and add 1.5 cups of water. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to reduce on low for about 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool, strain through a doubles-strainer into a squeeze bottle for later use. Whew. prep is done.

3)   So for the actual drink preperation lets begin by adding 1 oz of fresh grapefruit juice to our mixing glass. Squeeze it beforehand and optionally utilize the double-strainer to catch all the pulp and seeds.

4)   Next lets add .5 oz of our grapefruit simple syrup.

5)   Lets add 1 oz of Leopold Bros Cranberry Liqueur to our glass. This is an amazing artisanal product. Lots of fresh and tart cranberry flavor. You can should be able to find this at specialty liquor stores or online for sure.

6)   Now lets get our 2 oz of Don Julio Blanco Tequila. This is one of my personal favorite Tequilas to mix with. Check out my impressions on the entire Don Julio line here.

7)   Time to rim our pre chilled cooler glass with our grapefruit salt. Take a grapefruit segment and run over the outside of the rim. Dip the rimmed glass into the plate full of grapefruit salt. Ice up our glass and set aside.

8)   Add ice to our mixing glass and shake! Slap our Hawthorne Strainer to our tin and strain into our iced up, Grapefruit Salted cooler glass. Top off with 2 oz of Perrier and give a short, quick stir. Be careful not to kill the carbonation, we just want to distribute the ingredients throughout the cocktail. Garnish with a grapefruit peel, snap the peel to express the oil over the drink then drop it in. Enjoy!

Cranberry Red Paloma- 2 oz Don Julio Blanco, 1 oz Leopold Bros Cranberry Liqueur, 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice, .5 oz grapefruit simple syrup, shake/strain into grapefruit salted cooler glass and top off with 2 oz perrier and garnish with grapefruit peel.

Check out our YouTube video on the Cranberry Red Paloma here.

For more info on the Wellfleet Cape Cod Sea Salt and Leopold Bros Cranberry liqueur check out and respectively.

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