The Upgraded Paloma Recipe

A concentrated grapefruit extract makes this paloma variation way more flavorful. Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Macerating grapefruit peels in sugar makes for a complex and concentrated cordial with a rounded, almost buttery character.
  • Campari tames the cocktail's sweet and sour character, while a hit of salt brings the whole drink into focus.

This summer refresher from Zac Overman at Seattle's Sitka & Spruce is the perfect example of delayed gratification. Put in some advance work to make a rich, almost buttery sweet-tart grapefruit cordial and you have the makings of a whole pitcher's worth of drinks at a moment's notice. Grapefruit and lime bring acidity balanced by tequila's vegetal verve, Campari's bitterness, and a hint of salt for focus. This recipe makes about a pint of cordial, which you can keep in your fridge for weeks. Beyond cocktails, it's great drizzled over fresh fruit or ice cream.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 24 hrs
Serves: 1 serving

Rate & Comment


  • For the Salted Grapefruit Cordial:
  • 1/2 cup fresh juice from 2 large Ruby Red grapefruit, plus peel of 1 Ruby Red Grapefruit with little to no white pith (see note)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh juice from about 8 limes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For One Cocktail:
  • 2 ounces blanco tequila, such as Chinaco
  • 1 ounce Salted Grapefruit Cordial
  • 3/4 ounce fresh juice from 2 limes
  • 1/4 ounce Campari
  • Seltzer


  1. For the Salted Grapefruit Cordial: Bury grapefruit peel in sugar in a pint-sized container. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

  2. The next day, add grapefruit juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, water, and salt to sugar and stir or shake until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove grapefruit peel and refrigerate cordial, which will last for several weeks.

  3. For the Cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, 1 ounce of cordial, 3/4 ounce of lime juice, and Campari. Fill shaker with ice, and shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top with soda to taste. Garnish with a grapefruit twist if desired.


Since you need the grapefruit peel on day 1 and the juice on day 2, you can peel 1 grapefruit on the first day, then store the peeled grapefruit in the refrigerator overnight until you are ready to juice it the next day.

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