Clean COCKTAIL lovers, I’m back with 2019’s first better-for-you libation! I’ve actually been testing my Gingered Cara Cara Grapefruit Paloma since last February — but because my recipe testing process is so intense, believe it or not, my star ingredients went out of season by the time I had it perfected (call me crazy, but that’s how committed I am to the perfect cocktail!). So, I waited until the height of citrus season this year to publish the recipe — and I’m so glad I did, because the results are absolutely delicious!
Have you ever had (or heard of) a Paloma? In true JustineCelina style, I’ve elevated this traditional Mexican cocktail with a fresh, plant-based, seasonal spin. My Gingered Cara Cara Grapefruit Paloma is a simple, refined sugar free, 6 ingredient ode to citrus season in cocktail form! Freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange, Ruby Red grapefruit and vibrant lime juice combine with Reposado tequila, spicy ginger beer and a Himalayan pink salted rim to create a jubilant, citrus-centric tipple bursting with vivacious Spanish flavour. Escape the depths of our Canadian winter and transport yourself to a sun-drenched, white sandy beach in just 10 minutes — no plane tickets required!
GINGERED CARA CARA GRAPEFRUIT PALOMA
There’s something about weeks of snowy, -30 °C conditions that make me crave bright, tropical flavours, colours, cuisine and cocktails inspired by exotic destinations. Without fail, every February I begin to inject a serious dose of colour into my content across categories here at JustineCelina — it’s my way of coping with our brutal Canadian winters here on the Alberta prairies!
I discovered Cara Cara oranges last winter in late January. They were on sale at our local grocer and neither of us had tried them before, so I filled our basket. We both love citrus and are always looking for delicious new varieties to try!
After devouring our body weight in Cara Cara oranges, we learned these delicious, coral-hued navels are less acidic than other citrus varieties and have a sweet, almost berry-like flavor. They’re also seedless — which makes them the ideal citrus fruit to juice, or use for cocktails! And they’re readily available at this time of year at all major grocers. This perfectly balanced, naturally sweet trio of Cara Cara orange, Ruby Red grapefruit and zingy lime juice makes an incredible citrus base for my Gingered Cara Cara Grapefruit Palomas!
Just add a splash of spicy ginger beer and a healthy dose of tequila and you’re all set! I’ve mentioned this previously here at JustineCelina, but my tequila of choice is Reposado — we fell in love in Oaxaca a few years ago and we’ve never looked back. It’s the only tequila we keep stocked in our bar!
While the majority of cocktail recipes are loaded with simple syrup or added sugars, I often don’t find any added sugar necessary — especially when you’re working with gorgeous, naturally sweet citrus at peak season! This is a healthier alternative compared to most cocktails which are high in calories and full of refined sugar. I’m all about balance (even in my COCKTAILS!) and truly believe in making better choices no matter what you’re eating or drinking.
GINGERED CARA CARA GRAPEFRUIT PALOMA
• 1.5 oz Reposado tequila
• 2 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
• 1 oz freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice
• 1 oz ginger beer (I like Old Thyme or The Great Jamaican Co.)
• 0.5 oz lime juice
• Himalayan pink salt
• Cara Cara orange slice
1. Juice citrus fruit.
2. Add a splash of extra lime juice to a saucer to coat the rim of your glass. Add a thin layer of Himalayan pink salt to another saucer. Dip rim of your glass into the lime juice first, then into the Himalayan pink salt to create a salted rim.
3. Build your Gingered Cara Cara Grapefruit Paloma in a cocktail shaker by adding 8 ice cubes, along with citrus juices, tequila and ginger beer. Shake vicariously, until cocktail shaker becomes cold.
4. Strain contents into a margartia glass.
5. Garnish with a Cara Cara orange slice.
6. Bottoms up!
RASPBERRY RHUBARB ROSÉ SPRITZ
My Raspberry Rhubarb Rosé Spritz typifies the season in a jubilant celebration of all things feminine, fruity and nostalgic. Rhubarb and raspberries have always reminded me my Grandmother's garden and berry picking at the family farm -- so I channeled some of my fondest childhood memories into this cheerful libation! A summer-inspired trio of rhubarb, raspberries and honey combine in a scratch-made Honeyed Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup to infuse this effervescent cocktail with seasonal panache, beautifully complimented by sparkling rosé, local craft vodka, soda water, fresh lime juice and a dash of bitters. Enjoy this pretty, Pantone Living Coral inspired spritz with the special ladies in your life this summer -- it's the perfect menu addition for your next summer soirée, brunch, baby or bridal shower! Cheers!
RASPBERRY RHUBARB ROSÉ SPRITZ
- 1 oz premium vodka
- 2 oz dry fruity sparkling rosé
- 2 oz soda water
- 2 oz Honeyed Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup (recipe to follow)
- 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
- 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Rhubarb ribbons
- Fresh raspberries
- Edible flowers
HONEYED RASPBERRY RHUBARB SYRUP
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup honey
- Zest from 1 lime
- 2 cups rhubarb
- 1 pint raspberries
Start by making your Honeyed Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup. In a saucepan over medium / high heat, combine 1 cup water with 1 cup honey and the zest from 1 lime. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and add chopped rhubarb and whole raspberries. Stir boiling mixture constantly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Strain the saucepan contents into a bowl over a fine mesh strainer, using a mixing spoon to aid in separation if necessary.
Reserve the Honeyed Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup (bowl contents) for the cocktail. The Honeyed Raspberry Rhubarb Compote left in the strainer is also delicious (I love to enjoy it over oatmeal!). Both will keep for up to a week, refrigerated.
Optional: to make rhubarb ribbons, use a mandolin or vegetable peeler to shave thin ribbons off of your rhubarb stalks. I used rhubarb that had been sitting in the fridge (and was a bit soft) to create these, but ideally you want them to have a bit of bend. If you ribbons are firm, you can acheive softer ribbons by blanching them for a few moments before twirling them around the inside of your glass. Feel free to skip this step -- your cocktail will be delicious either way!
Build your Raspberry Rhubarb Rosé Spritz in a cocktail shaker by adding 8 ice cubes, along with all ingredients. Shake vicariously, until cocktail shaker becomes cold.
Add 5 - 6 fresh ice cubes to a cocktail glass. Strain shaker contents overtop.
Garnish with a rhubarb ribbon, fresh raspberries and / or edible flowers.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Note: My Honeyed Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup also freezes very well if you'd like to save half a batch for later!
MORE CLEAN, SEASONAL COCKTAILS & SANGRIAS
Have you ever tried a Paloma? If not, the height of citrus season is the perfect time! They’re incredibly tasty, simple to prepare and refreshing — ideal for late winter when we’re all dreaming of warmer destinations and craving a taste of the tropics!
As always, if you try my Gingered Cara Cara Grapefruit Paloma please leave me a comment below, or tag me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook! You can also use the hashtag #justinecelinacocktails in your recreations on social media so I can find them — I love it when you guys tag me so I can see what you’re whipping up at home! I also have a Pinterest board for my recipes and a newer board exclusively for my cocktails if you’re looking for more better-for-you cocktail options with clean ingredients. Thanks for stopping by today to celebrate citrus season with me!
Disclaimer: Thank you to Amici Home for providing the Carmen Marble Margartia glassware I used in this post — each piece is unique, recycled and handcrafted in Mexico (aren’t they gorgeous?)! This post is not sponsored, and contains my genuine thoughts, ideas and recommendations. JustineCelina uses affiliate and referral links, which allow me to receive a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my links. Thank you for supporting the brands and businesses that support JustineCelina!