Tequila week wouldn’t be complete without a Paloma riff, so I went just a tad off-book with the addition of some ginger liqueur and peppercorn tincture to add a little spice in this Peppercorn Paloma. Adding a few peppercorns to the top of the cocktail and crushing a few before adding to the glass will up the ante a bit more in terms of heat.
A traditional Paloma is tequila and a smidge of lime topped with grapefruit soda. Since I was working with peppercorn in this cocktail I added a bit of fresh grapefruit juice in addition to the grapefruit soda, and a smidge of Big O ginger liqueur to sweeten the drink.
Palomas are quick cocktails. They can be as simple as a pour of tequila, a squeeze of lime and a topper of grapefruit soda over ice. But since they can be so simple, each element counts. You’ll want to use a good tequila and a grapefruit soda you enjoy. And fresh lime juice is a must.
But, for this riff, I’m adding a little spicy/savory component with the peppercorn tincture and the Big O liqueur, and I wanted some of the bitterness from fresh grapefruit juice to shine through, too.
It’s not a complex cocktail, and just has accents of the peppercorn – it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking a cocktail full of cracked black pepper. However, it is still quick to make if you’ve got fresh grapefruit juice and lime juice around.
My original recipe didn’t include enough pepper in it, so I added more cracked peppercorn to the recipe to balance it out and make sure it still came through when sipped.
I had a point of difference between an earlier recipe and this one. The honey preferred the earlier recipe, but he tends to enjoy sweeter, less bitter cocktails rather than bitter, more savory ones. In the end I chose the cocktail I preferred. I am the one who writes about it.
If you love grapefruit, give this Peppercorn Paloma a try and see how pulling peppercorn together with grapefruit is a win-win situation. Coupled with the tiny bit of extra sweetness from the ginger liqueur it’s a combination I think you’ll enjoy.
If you’re a grapefruit lover, try my Don’t Tart With Me or my Grapefruit Mezcal Sipper, the Smoke and Sigh.
- 1 ½ oz tequila blanco
- 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
- ½ oz Big O Ginger Liqueur
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 barspoon black peppercorn tincture
- 8 or 9 peppercorns, a few smacked lightly with the side of a knife to crack them a bit
- Garnish: lemon verbena, whole peppercorns, grapefruit peel
- In a tall glass, combine tequila, both juices, ginger liqueur and peppercorn tincture along with the cracked peppercorn. Stir well, then add ice. Top off the cocktail with a healthy pour of grapefruit soda and garnish with a grapefruit slice, peel or additional peppercorn. And a little sprig of lemon verbena if you have it.