Grapefruit Cocktails for When You Need a Refreshing Sip, Stat

Meet two of our new favorite warm-weather drinks: a Grapefruit Mule and Pineapple Paloma from Esteban Castillo, the cookbook author and photographer behind Chicano Eats.

May  4, 2021

We’ve teamed up with Fever-Tree to share season-ready drinks recipes starring their top-notch cocktail mixers—like Sparkling Pink Grapefruit and classic Ginger Beer. Here, Esteban Castillo of Chicano Eats shares two bright, citrusy recipes you can stir up in no time flat.

When it comes to cocktails, “the simpler the better,” says Esteban Castillo—the creator of Chicano Eats, a food blog-turned-cookbook that celebrates Chicano (Mexican-American) cuisine and culture through stories, photos taken by Castillo himself, and of course, lots of delicious recipes.

Castillo’s go-to drinks, especially when mixing up something at home, fall under the categories of accessible, not a big fuss, and a minimal number of ingredients. Bonus points for something that’s also tart and slightly bitter.

Two of his favorite cocktail recipes—a Grapefruit Mule and Pineapple Paloma—hit all of those marks in terms of ease and simplicity, as well as flavor. And they’re exactly what we want to be sipping throughout the spring and into the hot days of summer, which are sure to be filled with lots of quality outdoor time (be it in the backyard, at the park or beach, or really anywhere you can laze in the sunshine).

“Ginger and citrus are two of my favorite flavors, and I think that combination really works well in something like a mule,” Castillo explains. “You have the refreshing and punchy notes of the citrus with the spiciness of the ginger beer—it’s a cocktail where everything comes together in harmony.” This grapefruit-forward riff has long been a household staple for Castillo and his husband, often enjoyed after a long day of work with some reality television. The whole thing is a cinch to put together, because it swaps freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for Fever Tree’s Sparkling Pink Grapefruit—not only is this mixer made with real juice from handpicked pink Florida grapefruits, but it also adds extra carbonation and a welcome dash of sweetness to the drink.

"We usually like to make this recipe with vodka," he adds, "but if I’m feeling a little bit spicy then I’ll incorporate mezcal, which brings a layer of smokiness." You could also incorporate fresh mint here, if you want some extra bite and refreshing coolness.

“Because I love such citrusy cocktails, the paloma is another go-to that I always have up my sleeve,” Castillo says. Typically, a paloma calls for tequila, lime, grapefruit, and soda—here, Castillo uses the Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit (for that bright grapefruit-y flavor and effervescence) and brings pineapple juice into the mix for a tropical-inspired twist. “The pineapple juice adds to the tartness and freshness,” he says. "Plus it’s going to make you feel like you’re sitting on a beach, which is exactly where I wish I was right now.”

Sticking with Castillo’s cocktail style, this one also takes mere minutes (seconds even) to pull together; simply pour the ingredients into a glass, stir, and top it off with the Sparkling Pink Grapefruit. But if you did want to dress up the drink a bit, Castillo recommends rimming the glass with Tajín, a chile-lime seasoning that’ll bring a touch of heat and zing. “Or, if you have access to them, you can always garnish with a spicy pineapple paleta or some sort of Mexican candy,” he adds. “I like to incorporate Mexican candy into cocktails as a garnish, because if someone has had that before, it’s instantly gonna take them back to their childhood.”

With these two cocktails in your back pocket, you'll be sipping pretty all season long.

What’s your go-to quick and easy cocktail? Tell us in the comments!

Whether you’re a master mixologist or budding home bartender, Fever-Tree makes the very best mixers for all sorts of sips—from a refreshing Grapefruit Mule to a tropical-inspired Pineapple Paloma. Ready to shake up these cocktails at home? Be sure to stock your bar cart with Fever-Tree’s Sparkling Pink Grapefruit (it’s made with real Florida pink grapefruit juice) and Ginger Beer.

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Erin Alexander is the Brand Partnerships Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.