You could spend the season sipping hot toddies, or you could drink this: our wintry answer to the classic grapefruit paloma. It brings a bright, fruity note to the table — a big middle finger to the frigid outdoors, if you will. The mezcal is warming, and can be quite intense (like you lit a bonfire using agave and various cacti, and then drank it). But we’ve countered it with the sweetness of the agave nectar, the earthiness of the thyme, and the tartness of the blood orange — which creates a ruby blush reminiscent of a child’s cheeks after a day of playing in the snow.
Blood Orange Paloma
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp agave nectar
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 3 oz fresh-squeezed blood orange juice (1 to 2 blood oranges)
- 1 ½ oz mezcal
- ½ oz lemon juice
- ½ oz agave-thyme simple syrup
- Club soda
- Blood orange slice, for garnish
For the agave-thyme simple syrup:
For the paloma:
- To make the agave-thyme simple syrup: In a small pot, combine the water, sugar, agave nectar, and thyme. Simmer for 5 minutes. Note: you can store any leftover simple syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Remove the thyme, and chill the syrup in the fridge until cool, about 30 minutes.
- To make the paloma: In a cocktail shaker, combine the ice, blood orange juice, mezcal, lemon juice, and agave-thyme simple syrup and shake heartily.
- Pour into a short tumbler filled with ice, top with club soda, and garnish with a slice of blood orange and a sprig of thyme. Cheers!
Palomas are a great, unfussy batch cocktail for parties. Just vigorously stir the ingredients into your vessel of choice instead of using a shaker.