Smoky and Spicy Paloma

March 31, 2015
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 1 cocktail and 1 cup of jalapeño-infused simple syrup
Author Notes

It's counterintuitive, but on a hot summer day, one of the best ways to beat the heat is to eat and drink spicy things. This recipe takes a classic summertime drink—the Paloma—and turns it on its head. Quintuple the recipe for a crowd. —Hi, I'm Brian.

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Someday I'll Live Simply is a master mixologist-in-the-making living in Brooklyn, New York.
WHAT: A happy marriage between mezcal and citrus.
HOW: Give simple syrup a kick with some jalapeño and grapefruit zest. Shake it up with grapefruit juice and liqueur, then double strain it over ice. Hear the ice cracking? That's the sounds of cocktail success.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is a cocktail of oxymorons—it's bitter yet sweet, smoky yet refreshing, and spicy-hot yet cool. Somehow, the combination works to create a perfectly balanced drink that we'll be sipping all summer long. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the jalapeño-infused simple syrup:
  • 2 jalapeños, halved
  • Zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • For the Smoky and Spicy Paloma:
  • 1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1/2 ounce mezcal
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 ounce jalapeño-infused simple syrup (see ingredient list above)
  • 1/2 ounce grapefruit liqueur or Triple Sec
  • Ice, to serve
  1. Begin by making the jalapeño-infused simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the jalapeño, grapefruit zest, sugar, and water. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. Strain into a clean glass jar. Syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks refrigerated in an airtight container.
  4. To make the cocktail, combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice. Double strain into a glass with ice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Melanie K.
    Melanie K.
  • Jessie @Straight to the Hips, Baby
    Jessie @Straight to the Hips, Baby
  • hardlikearmour
  • cookinginvictoria
  • lapadia

9 Reviews

Melanie K. April 29, 2015
I made a "broke" version of this the other night (left out the mezcal and the Triple Sec, only had tequila on hand) and it was still so good. The jalapeño simple syrup added such a nice savoury flavour. I also added a splash of club soda and a pinch of salt. Sorry for bastardizing your recipe, but I'm looking forward to trying the full recipe one day soon!
Jessie @. April 24, 2015
Congrats of being chosen as a finalist! Lovely color on the Paloma!
hardlikearmour April 23, 2015
Congratulations! I love Mezcal, and think this sounds fantastic. Will give it a spin with some pomelocello I made :-)
cookinginvictoria April 23, 2015
Congratulations on being selected as a finalist! What a fun and imaginative cocktail. Your jalapeno/grapefruit infused simple syrup sounds very tasty, particularly with the addition of a splash of Mezcal. I look forward to trying this out soon. :)
lapadia April 23, 2015
Love that touch of Mezcal...
mrslarkin April 23, 2015
Congrats SILS! Your blog is fun!
LeBec F. April 13, 2015
Nice job and Congrats! I love the many shadings of flavor you have introduced here. Being a lover of gold tequila myself (in margueritas, that is), plse tell me why you chose silver tequila for this version? And what does the mezcal do? (I've never had it.) Thx much.
p.s. LOVE your moniker; I laugh every time i see it :-)
Hi, I. April 13, 2015
Thanks! Here I'm using silver tequila because there are so many competing flavors, the nuances of gold tequila would be lost. And if I'm going to be honest with myself, the gold would impact the beautiful pink color of the drink. Mezcal gives it the smokiness. If you've never had it definitely give it a try. It's an acquired taste on its own, but mixed into drinks it's a lot of fun.
Hi, I. May 19, 2015
I'm reading a really interesting book called The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart, and I realized I gave some false information. When you said "gold tequila" my mind went to "reposado," which is tequila aged in oak barrels. Gold tequila is actually just silver tequila with coloring added, so the flavor of the cocktail wouldn't necessarily be impacted, but the color would. Reposado tequila I wouldn't use in a cocktail because, in some cases, it's so smooth and tasty on its own it goes down like candy. (If you ever find yourself in the company of Don Julio 1942-an añejo that's better than the best bourbon I've ever had, and I'm a bourbon drinker-don't miss the opportunity to give it a try.)