The Paloma, a variation using fresh juice and soda (and mezcal)

I arrived in the West Village in New York City after celebrating son James’s 21st birthday. It was hot and so I wanted a refreshing cocktail, with fresh juices of lime and grapefruit, seltzer and mezcal, a variation on the great cocktail combining tequila and grapefruit soda. (Because I needed so little, I juiced by hand, but there’s a good site on the whys and wherefores and how-to’s of juicing called Sprint Kitchen, if you’re into juicing!). Here I am on my fire escape, a lovely NYC haven where I will stay till I’m safe to return to Rhode Island.

I was heartened to see almost everyone wearing masks. It now is clear that masks are a genuine deterrent to spreading the Covid virus (see Florida), and I was also glad to see spaced tables at two favorite restaurants on West 12th Street, the Beatrice Inn and Cafe Cluny with full outdoor tables (as I got a killer burger from @angiekmar, chef-owner of Beatrice, perfectly cooked), but I was a little dismayed walking along Hudson Street which felt like a street party, with tables too close together and no one at tables wore masks (as if being at a table put an anti-Covid forcefield around you). Be smart, people.

The Paloma is a steller summer cocktail, and a snap to make if you have grapefruit soda and tequila on hand. I had neither. But the drink let’s you know that tequila and grapefruit go well together. I had some excellent mezcal, aged in oak, and grapefruit and some lime Le Croix to make a refreshing variation. As shown in the below video by @katguanche, with a reading of a Mary Oliver poem.

I should note that I misspeak when I imply that mezcal is tequila. Tequila is made from the silver agave only, whereas mezcal is made from various agave plants. I meant to say that mezcal or tequila is good to use, and they differ widely. Also, to clarify, the way I phrased the statement about being married in the park behind me suggested it was Mary Oliver and I who married (she died in 2019)–in fact I married Ann Hood there! Happy Friday Cocktail Hour! (Wear a mask!). And happy independence day everyone! Let’s keep our Democracy strong!

The Paloma (a variation)

Tequila and grapefruit cocktail
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Cocktail
Servings 1


  • 2 ounces mezcal
  • 2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces seltzer water (or to taste)
  • 1 wedge lime
  • 1 Mary Oliver poem optional but recommended.


  • Combine the liquids. Add ice and a squeeze of lime. Read Mary Oliver if desired.


A traditional paloma: 2 ounces tequila, 4 ounces of grapefruit soda, ice and a squeeze of lime, also delicious.