Spicy Thai Paloma Cocktail Recipe For National Paloma Day - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Spicy Thai Paloma Cocktail Recipe For National Paloma Day
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Spicy Thai Paloma Cocktail Recipe For World Paloma Day

World Paloma Day is May 22nd. We recently featured a classic Paloma recipe for Cinco de Mayo, but you can take this popular and refreshing drink a step further—and give it a global spin.

Like all classic cocktails, the Paloma invites you to play with the recipe and customize it—perhaps create your signature Paloma.

Today’s inspiration is this Spicy Thai Paloma recipe, which brings a bit of heat to the cocktail (photo #1). It’s a natural extension for a cocktail from Mexico, where chiles infuse the cuisine.

The recipe uses chili tincture. What’s a tincture?

Tinctures are concentrated alcohol infusions used to season cocktails, similar to, but different than, bitters‡.

  • There’s a recipe to make your own chile tincture, below. You just need gin and chiles, and two weeks to let the chiles infuse.
  • Or, you can buy chile tincture‡ online, like this brand from Florida Herbs (photo #4). Can you use chile bitters if you have them? Yes, but see the difference in the footnote‡.
  • Or, you can substitute two dashes of sriracha sauce. It’s not the same as a tincture, but it brings the heat.
  • Note on chile vs. chili: The spellings are interchangeable. We prefer chile because it’s the Spanish spelling, ported from the Nahuatl (Aztec) chīlli, when the Spanish first arrived in Mexico.
    > Here’s the classic Paloma cocktail recipe and the history of the Paloma.

    > The different types of chiles.

    This cocktail is a classic at the acclaimed Bluebird Restaurant in London. We thank them for the recipe.
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.5 ounces blanco/silver Tequila
  • 1.5 ounces grapefruit juice, ideally fresh-squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, fresh-squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup (a.k.a. agave nectar)
  • 2 dashes chili tincture (recipe below)
  • Ice cubes
  • 1/2 ounce grapefruit soda*
  • Garnish: Thai chile and kaffir leaf—or a lime wedge or wheel
  • Half rim: lime wedge and coarse salt†

    1. PREPARE the glass with half of a salt rim. Place coarse salt in a saucer, wet half of the rim of a Tom Collins (highball) glass with a lime wedge, and roll the rim in the salt. Brush off any salt that may have adhered to the other half of the rim.

    2. COMBINE the first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in the prepared glass.

    3. TOP OFF with the grapefruit soda. Garnish with a kaffir leaf and a Thai chile—if you can find them—or default to a lime wedge or wheel.


    This recipe uses navy strength gin, a higher-proof gin (at least 57% A.B.V., 114 proof, as opposed to the 80 proof of standard gin.

    The name dates to the 18th century when the gin was stored on British Navy ships next to the gunpowder. If the gin spilled into the gunpowder, the damp gunpowder would still explode thanks to the higher proof of the gin.

    If you don’t want to buy navy strength gin, you can use regular proof gin—but let the tincture sit for an extra week or two. You can also substitute vodka.

  • ½ bottle navy strength gin or substitute
  • 5 Thai chilws, split down the middle

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a jar, seal tightly, and shake vigorously. Store at room temperature for 2 weeks.

    2. SHAKE the jar often. Shaking every day is fine—then you’ll remember to do it! After 2 weeks…

    3. STRAIN into another container and store at room temperature.


    [1] A Spicy Thai Paloma, made with some drops of Thai chile tincture (photo © Bluebird Restaurant | London).

    [2] Thai chiles (photo © Anna Nekrashevich | Pexels).

    Thai Paloma Cocktail With Fever Tree Grapefruit Soda
    [3] There are quality brands of grapefruit soda (see the footnote*), including Fever Tree (photo © Elemental Spirits).

    Chile Tincture For Spicy Thai Paloma Cocktail
    [4] You can buy chili tincture or make your own (photo © Florida Herbs).



    *Grapefruit soda brands: There are many brands from which to choose, including good brands like Fever Tree, Jarritos (the brand used in Mexico), Q Sparkling Grapefruit, San Pelligrino, Spindrift (no sugar added), Ting, Whole Foods Market Pink Grapefruit Sparkling Italian Soda; and as the default, Fresca.

    Alternative salt: While most of us have coarse sea salt or kosher salt, if you have smoked salt or another flavored salt that works with the Paloma cocktail flavors, (chile or citrus, e.g.), feel free to substitute it.

    ‡The difference between tinctures and bitters: Both infuse botanicals—plants or plant parts valued for their flavor, scent, medicinal or therapeutic properties—into alcohol. However, bitters are distinctively bitter. Tinctures can be herbal, spicy, sweet, etc., without any bitterness.





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