The History of the Paloma
Where did the most popular drink in Mexico originate? Let’s explore the theories behind the history of this classic cocktail.
Nov. 20, 2023
THE POPULAR DRINK OF MEXICO
The Paloma is one of the most popular drinks in Mexico, and for good reason. A traditional Paloma cocktail uses tequila, lime, salt, and grapefruit soda—it’s easy to make and even easier to enjoy. But where did it originate?
THE MYSTERY OF THE PALOMA
The history of the drink is obscure and hard to track and, even today, historians can’t agree on where or how the drink was first created.
Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner of La Capilla, the oldest bar in Jalisco, Mexico, was credited as the inventor of the Paloma for years. He’s known for creating other cocktails, such as the Batanga, so the theory gained popularity. But according to Jim Meehan’s Bartender’s Manual, he denied ever creating the drink.
Another theory, based on a Wikipedia entry for the drink, suggests that the first reference for the Paloma comes from a book titled Popular Cocktails of the Rio Grande by Evan Harrison. But various internet sleuths uncovered that the book doesn’t seem to exist, and a certain bartender Evan Harrison was born about fifty years too late to be the creator of the Paloma. It seems likely that Harrison and his bartender pals added this to the Wikipedia entry as a joke, and by the time it was finally pulled down two years later, other blogs had already cited the information.
Perhaps it wasn’t until Squirt, the popular grapefruit soda, was introduced to Mexico in the 1950s that the Paloma came to be. It was simply mixed with tequila by the locals from day one, and the drink took off in popularity.
La Paloma means “the dove” in Spanish, and some think this is the key to the puzzle—the classic drink may have been named for a popular Mexican folk song composed in the 1860s. Others swear it’s named “the dove” because of the whitish color of the drink.
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT PALOMA
Although there are several theories, no one knows for certain where or when the Paloma originated, but the fact is that it became extremely popular in Mexico—and remains so to this day—and we can see why: because the best part of the Paloma is how easy it is to make. Our PATRÓN Paloma uses the best ingredients, from freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juice to, of course, PATRÓN Reposado, handcrafted from the finest 100% Weber Blue Agave and carefully distilled in small batches. Craft one for yourself today, and savor the mystery of this classic cocktail.
- 1.5 oz PATRÓN Reposado
- 3 oz Fresh grapefruit juice
- .5 oz Agave syrup (1:1)
- .5 oz Fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz Sparkling water
- + Sugar and salt for rimming
- + Grapefruit wedge for garnish
- Combine all ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker tin and shake with ice to chill.
- Strain onto fresh ice in a sugar and salt rimmed collins glass.
- Top with sparkling water and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.