paloma grapefruit cocktail with sliced grapefruit and lime, salt, and chamomile on a cutting board

Pink Paloma | Grapefruit Cocktail with Chamomile-infused Tequila

This herbal take on a classic grapefruit cocktail includes all the nutritive and medicinal benefits of one of the sweetest little flowers. Chamomile not only lends its subtle nuances of apple and honey to the earthy and subtle sweet taste of tequila, but it also infuses this cocktail with added digestive, anti-inflammatory, and nerve relaxing benefits.

While it does take some proper planning ahead to infuse the tequila, you’ll be glad you did. Botanical cocktails are not only a fun way to include more beneficial botanicals into your celebrations (or let’s be real, sometimes it’s just Tuesday), but they also make great conversation starters, easy ways to slip the medicine and magic of plants into your chats with friends and family. Even more so, herb-infused liquors make great host/hostess gifts.

Move over margarita! Tequila cocktails just got a whole lot better with added botanicals!

READY TO SIP ON SOMETHING DELISH?! HERE YOU’LL FIND:

What is a Paloma?
How to Make Chamomile-Infused Tequila
Why You Should Add Botanicals to Your Cocktails
The Health Benefits of Chamomile
How to Make a Pink Paloma
Tip, Tricks, & FAQs
Pink Paloma Grapefruit Cocktail with Chamomile-infused Tequila Recipe

fresh chamomile flowers

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What is a Paloma?

Palomas are probably the most well-known of the grapefruit cocktails. Most will say it’s the best grapefruit cocktail out there. It’s also probably the most underrated, in my opinion.

It hails from Mexico and its name in Spanish translates to dove. The who, what, and where specifics of its origin is unclear, and recipes even vary, but wherever you go and whomever you talk to, there’s agreement on this: it’s not a paloma without tequila and grapefruit.

Paloma’s are traditionally made with grapefruit-flavored soda, however, fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice is a wholesome swap.

How to Make Chamomile-infused Tequila

If you’re already thinking just quit talking and let’s go make this paloma, hold up a minute. First we have to infuse the tequila with some chamomile.

In making herb-infused liquors, you’re essentially making an herbal tincture, which is only an alcohol extract of a plant (or multiple plants). And I have some news: this part takes some time. To make a proper culinary tincture, it’s typical to let the alcohol infuse for at least 4 weeks so as to extract the most medicinal value from the plant material. However, the chamomile flavor starts to come through within a few hours.

If you don’t have 4 weeks to wait, for the sole purpose of this recipe, I recommend infusing the tequila at least the day before so that it can sit overnight. You’ll still get the delicious flavor of the chamomile.

You can make as much or as little infused tequila as you’d like. Choose your glass jar size according to how much you’d like to make.

QUICK METHOD Chamomile-infused Tequila Recipe

EQUIPMENT YOU’LL NEED:

  • quart- or pint-sized glass jar with tight-fitting lid (like a canning jar)
  • wax paper
  • a square of organic cotton muslin (at least 12×12″)
  • a funnel
  • another glass jar or a 4-cup glass measuring cup to strain into

INGREDIENTS:

  • tequila (I highly recommend using a blanco tequila for this recipe.)
  • chamomile flowers
    • If using fresh flowers, rough chop enough to fill the jar 1/2-3/4 full.
    • If using dried flowers, rough chop (or pulse a few times in a spice grinder of blender) enough to fill the jar 1/4-1/3 full.
  • your patience 🙂

METHOD | INFUSING THE TEQUILA:

  1. Fill your glass jar with the fresh or dried chamomile flowers according to the recommendations above.
  2. Then cover the flowers with blanco tequila, filling the jar to ~1″ from the top, ensuring the all ingredients are covered by the tequila by about 1-2″.
  3. Place a piece of wax paper over the top of the jar and seal with a tight-fitting lid.
  4. Give jar a vigorous shake and then place somewhere out of direct sunlight for at least 6-8 hours or longer. The longer, the better.

METHOD | STRAINING THE TEQUILA:

  1. After at least 6-8 hours, the tequila is ready to strain. Line a funnel with the organic cotton muslin to strain the alcohol into another sterilized glass jar. To prevent your alcohol from getting cloudy, do not press or squeeze the ingredients (especially if using fresh ingredients), just let the alcohol run through on its own. (I’ll often press it gently if not worrying about keeping it clear. It’s not important if making for the purposes of this recipe Compost herbs when finished.
    • If you don’t have organic cotton muslin, you can use several layers of cheesecloth, a clean coffee filter, a fine mesh tea strainer, or even a clean scrap of old t-shirt.
  2. After the tequila is strained, return to a clean glass jar for storage. Be sure to label with ingredients and date.
  3. Store infused liquor at room temperature and keep it out of direct sunlight. If stored properly, the high alcohol content allows for shelf-stability for ~1-4 years.
pink grapefruit wedges for making a pink paloma grapefruit cocktail

Why You Should Add Botanicals to Your Cocktails & Mocktails

Infusing alcohol with herbs is a great way to pull out beneficial plant compounds locked inside the cellular walls of plants, making it another great way to get these benefits into your day. By adding chamomile flowers to this classic grapefruit cocktail, you’re adding a unique twist on the flavor and some health benefits that weren’t there before.

Please know that alcohol is not a food, does not contain significant nutritional or medicinal value on its own, nor is it an appropriate way to consume nutritive and medicinal herbs for some people. Just had to throw that in there. 😊

The Health Benefits of Chamomile

Chamomile is so much more than a soothing bedtime cup of tea. Some of the health benefits of chamomile include:

  • Nervine (calming to the nerves)
  • Carminative (soothing to our GI tract & digestion)
  • Antibacterial
  • Antispasmodic (helps to relieve involuntary muscle spasms, such as stomach cramping)
  • Wound Healing
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Cholegogue (stimulates flow of bile from the liver to aid digestion, important for proper digestion of fats)

>> Check out this post if you’d like to dive deeper into the science-supported benefits & uses of chamomile.

fresh chamomile flowers

How to Make a Pink Paloma: Your New Fave Grapefruit Cocktail

You’re in luck! This is a pretty simple cocktail to make, no mixology expertise necessary. All that herbal wizardry you’ve already done to make the chamomile-infused tequila was the hardest part.

You can use store-bought grapefruit and lime juice for this recipe, however, fresh-squeezed gives new life to this cocktail like a breath of fresh air.

To make this paloma, first, you’ll prepare the glass. Salt and tequila go together like peas and carrots. Use a high ball glass for this cocktail and moisten the rim by running a wedge of pink grapefruit around it. Then dip the rim in a coarse-ground sea salt.

Second, shake all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker, except for the soda (or sparkling) water. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can always add the ingredients to a tall glass and use a fork or spoon to stir vigorously.

Third, pour into your prepared glass and top with soda (or sparkling) water. Voilá! You’ve just made a Pink Paloma.

Tips, Tricks, & FAQs

Do I have to use blanco tequila?

Technically, no. While you can use any tequila, blanco tequila is the “cleanest,” most neutral tasting, and the best tequila for this grapefruit cocktail. The neutral flavor really lets the co-mingling of grapefruit and chamomile shine. Other tequilas such as reposado and añejo are aged for longer and in oak barrels, a process that contributes significantly to their more dynamic flavor profile.

Using a tequila other than blanco will alter the flavor profile of this cocktail.

Do I have to use chamomile-infused tequila?

No, you don’t have to infuse the tequila with chamomile flowers, but it’s a serious downgrade in my opinion. Plus, the point is to make and enjoy a botanical cocktail. 😉 Once you go botanical, it’s hard to go back.

A drink for all seasons…

Summer, fall, winter, and spring…. this paloma is a great creative cocktail option for all the seasons. While grapefruits are a thing of fall and winter, the addition of chamomile swings it into spring and summer, especially if using fresh chamomile flowers. However, the digestive benefits of chamomile can be quite beneficial during winter, a time when we typically eat heartier foods that can require more of our energy to digest. Enjoy this cocktail year-round.

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paloma grapefruit cocktail with sliced grapefruit and lime, salt, and chamomile on a cutting board

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Pink Paloma with Chamomile-infused Tequila

Recipe by Sass AyresCourse: Drinks, CocktailsDifficulty: Easy
Servings

1

cocktail
Prep time

5

minutes

Perhaps the most perfect grapefruit cocktail for a hot spring or summer day! It’s salty, sweet, tangy, and a little bitter, and it has the added health benefits of chamomile. Infusing tequila with chamomile lends it subtle notes of apple and honey for a unique take on this classic cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz (60 ml) chamomile-infused blanco tequila

  • 2 oz (60 ml) pink grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed

  • 1/2 oz (15 ml) lime juice, fresh squeezed

  • 1/2 oz (15 ml) agave syrup (can also use honey)

  • ice

  • soda water

  • coarse-ground sea salt for rim (Pink Himalayan salt adds a nice pink touch!)

  • grapefruit slices for garnish

Directions

  • Run a slice of pink grapefruit around the rim of a high ball glass, then dip into a small plate of coarse-ground sea salt to rim the glass. Fill with ice and set aside.
  • Add the chamomile-infused tequila, pink grapefruit juice, lime juice, and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker and give a few hearty shakes.
  • Pour into prepared glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit and dried or fresh chamomile if you have it.
  • Sip away and enjoy!

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DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.

paloma grapefruit cocktail with sliced grapefruit and lime, salt, and chamomile on a cutting board
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