(Photos by Sarah Derer)
We know. The second Drinking Woman cocktail is yet another one built around grapefruit juice. We can't help ourselves. It's one of the first things our sour hearts bonded over. In an interview for a job once, Mollie was asked to name her top five flavors. Grapefruit was at the top of her list. Jelly Belly hired her on the spot. (Kidding! She was interviewing for a line cook position.) And Meghan has only fond memories of eating grapefruit halves with her grandfather for breakfast, full pink moons dusted with white sugar. An occasional maraschino cherry would transform the lunar face into something more floral.
The Paloma is a natural choice for citrus lovers like us. It's a great year-round cocktail, too: refreshing in the warmer months, a reminder of sunnier days when the weather is miserable. We got to thinking about how much more we enjoy them in the company of others and set out to create a tequila and grapefruit-based punch.
While our concoction is by no means traditional, we did at least hew close to to the original components punch: oleo saccharum, citrus, spirit, water, and spice. We used mint as an herb substitute for spice. We're pretty proud of the results and even created a by-the-glass option for an alternative to the classic Paloma of grapefruit soda and tequila.
By the glass
2 oz tequila blanco
3 oz fresh grapefruit juice
2 oz lime-mint syrup (recipe below)
Stir the grapefruit juice and syrup together in a mixing pitcher or a large glass. Add the tequila and ice. Stir. Fill a glass with ice. Strain the juice and tequila mixture over the ice. Top with sparkling water (optional).
By the pitcher
2 cups tequila blanco
3 cups fresh grapefruit juice
2 cups lime-mint syrup
In a pitcher, combine the grapefruit juice and syrup. (If making the punch ahead, you can refrigerate this for a couple of hours.) Add the tequila and stir. Fill each glass with ice and serve, topping each glass with a splash of sparkling water for some effervescence.
This syrup is double the strength of a standard simple syrup, which is usually 1 part water to 1 part sugar. It also starts with oleo saccharum, the traditional sweet base for punch.
8 limes, peeled (avoid the pith)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (packed)
In a shallow bowl, combine the mint and the lime peels. Top with sugar and begin to muddle with a muddler, the handle of a wooden spoon, or a pestle. The mint and limes will begin to release their oils and the sugar will start to look like sand. Do this for about 1 minute. Then cover and leave for 1 hour or overnight (for a stronger flavor). The next day, you'll have a thick, sweet oil or very wet sugar.
Pour the contents of the bowl (oleo sacchrum, sugar, peels, mint, and all) into a small sauce pan. Add the lime juice and 1/2 cup filtered water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Strain into a clean glass jar and chill. The syrup should keep for about a month. Use it in cocktails or with sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage.