This easy maple paloma cocktail combines freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, maple syrup, and aromatic tequila to create a fabulously refreshing drink!
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I love cocktails but I don’t often make them at home. It’s a treat I like to enjoy when I go out: I put my trust in a bartender’s or mixologist’s ability to create a drink that will make me go “mmm” at first sip.
I can’t pretend I have such abilities, and I certainly don’t have all the liquors and bitters and other secret ingredients that mixologists use to create their cocktails. But sometimes I just really crave a long, fruity, refreshing drink when going out is off the cards. On such occasions, the shortest route to a cocktail is my goal, and so 5 minutes is the most time I’m willing to spend before I sit down and take the first sip. The drinks I shake at home need to be simple but well-balanced.
Because I’m such a huge citrus fan, the cocktails I make at home always involve a member of the zesty family. I like how citrus can cut through sweeter ingredients and highlight the aromas of complex liquors. The paloma cocktail has long been one of my favorite drinks because it’s festive, aromatic, and just sour enough to make it extra refreshing.
As I developed recipes for my first cookbook, Simply Citrus, I fell in love with the combination of maple products and citrus fruits. The earthy, caramelized sweetness of maple syrup perfectly rounds off the more acidic edges of citrus. As a bonus, in cocktails, maple syrup acts like a simple syrup you always have on hand—no need to remember to boil your own simple syrup before you get to make a drink! Plus, maple syrup makes cocktails more delicious by adding its aromatic sweetness to the mix.
In this maple paloma cocktail—which I like to think is an “elevated” version of the classic drink—fresh grapefruit juice replaces the traditional soda, and maple syrup mellows the bitter flavor of the citrus fruit. The maple sugar rim is a nice touch, but it’s in no way required: the drink is just as invigorating without it.
Serve this maple paloma cocktail year-round: in the summer, you’ll find it incredibly refreshing, while in the winter you’ll enjoy the heart-warming, comforting flavors of maple and tequila. If you happen to have mezcal on hand, I encourage you to try it in this cocktail: the more complex the liquor you use, the better the drink will be. Cheers!
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