It's paloma-drinking time across the city, and options abound.
Welcome to the Era of Grapefruit. The former second-tier citrus has stormed Columbus bar menus, most gloriously in the form of the paloma, a cocktail too often overshadowed by its Mexican-American cousin, the margarita. The paloma's essential ingredients are simple—tequila and grapefruit, typically with lime and salt—but that's just a starting point, a canvas for creativity.
Take Cosecha Cocina's Si Paloma, pictured here, which is made with grapefruit, Sauza Tequila Blanco, Aperol, soda, cardamom salt and a grapefruit wheel. The fruit's citrusy, dry and bitter flavors arrive first, amplified by the soda and Aperol, followed by the bracing alcoholic punch of tequila. It makes for an alluring, slyly intoxicating cocktail.
My first introduction to the paloma (which means “dove” in Spanish) came at El Camino Inn, where it's served in delicious traditional fashion—Sauza Silver, Jarritos Grapefruit soda and salt.
Condado offers a similar version with grapefruit bitters, gold tequila instead of silver and Mexican Squirt in place of Jarritos.
Bakersfield builds on that blueprint by adding agave nectar and tapping a premium, aged liquor in Herradura Reposado tequila.
Denmark on High's Mellow Pomelo, a variation with similar bloodlines, features El Jimador Silver, grapefruit, hibiscus syrup, lemon and smoked sea salt.
Seventh Son's Paloma Slushie offers a perfect seasonal option for patio drinking, and the taproom also concocted the imaginative Nimbus Iceberg—a Humulus Nimbus Strong Pale Ale with a scoop of frozen paloma floating on top. It's a fresh twist on a long-overlooked cocktail, and one more way to enjoy this moment in the sun.
Like the idea behind a paloma, but looking for beer? Try Rockmill Tavern's Shandy, a perfect springtime drink that combines the brewery's Le Cheval Farmhouse Ale with a bright grapefruit-cinnamon cordial.