As a child of Utah, I remember July 24 fondly as Utah's statehood anniversary, dubbed Pioneer Day––a little extra 4th of July, with similar festivities, most notably for my young eyes an opportunity for a second fireworks display. In future years, owing to my adulthood and general membership in Utah counterculture, it became "Pie and Beer" day, most notably and recently celebrated by a tasting of various pies from area restaurants and local beers at Salt Lake City's own Beer Bar. Party like it's 1896!
Outside of Utah, among the alcoholic class, the 24th of July is known as National Tequila Day. Fortuitous! This year, since I found myself outside of the motherland on the 24th, visiting mama in unseasonably warm Cedar Rapids, we decided to celebrate National Tequila Day with palomas, a refreshing tequila cocktail that, according to some, is much more commonly consumed in Mexico than the margarita. Made with grapefruit instead of lime, the paloma is a slightly less acidic tipple that's perfect for warm summer days.
At the store, I could not find my go-to mixer for the paloma, a Mexican grapefruit soda called Jarritos, and being the indecisive person that I am, I decided to purchase a bunch of shit and embark on a little paloma "tasting"––using various recipes for palomas I could find online to make the beverage, and comparing the results.
I made four different permutations on the beverage with the same reposado tequila (don't @ me, purists; I prefer reposado) and submitted them to the jury (me, mom) for evaluation. Each paloma was served in a highball with a salted rim, a quarter slice of grapefruit, and a cube of big ice. We ranked each. Off to the races, and may the best paloma win!
Option A: Fresh grapefruit juice.
Mom = 2nd place; Steve = 1st place.
This paloma was made with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, two ounces to match the tequila measurement. As with all the palomas, a half ounce of fresh lime juice was added, and unlike the others, a bit of agave syrup to help tame the tang. Finally, for that signature paloma effervescence, club soda, about two ounces worth, topped the tipple. I loved the distinct essence of fresh grapefruit and the purity of this edition.
Option B: Izze sparkling grapefruit
Mom = 1st place; Steve = 3rd place.
Mom's favorite, this paloma also contained two ounces of tequila and a half ounce of lime, but then the glass was topped with Izze sparkling grapefruit, a juice more than a soda with some moderate bubbles. This was mom's first choice, but I thought I could have done with more acidity––when I make it again with the Izze, I will add more lime juice!
Option C: Fever Tree pink grapefruit mixer.
Mom = 3rd place; Steve = 2nd place.
Fever Tree makes my favorite tonic water, and their pink grapefruit mixer, more like a soda than the Izze, is gloriously balanced and worked perfectly with the tequila. Made in the exact same measurements as paloma B, this was my second favorite, but was close to my champion, and the more limited work required compared to squeezing grapefruit is certainly appealing!
Option D: Grapefruit juice from the bottle.
Unanimous 4th place.
Well, what are you waiting for?? Go down to the store and pick your paloma! It is National Tequila Day, after all! If not today, certainly entertain with this lovely refreshing beverage on some hot day this summer.