Pink Peppercorn Paloma


Mezcal, pretty pink peppercorns, and an aromatic vanilla bean salted rim join in happy union with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice over ice. I’ve been on a cocktail kick lately with sundress and sandal weather on my mind and am desperate for spring to actually grace us with her presence. Although there are daffodils, hyacinth and tulips galore in New York City, old man winter is having the final word with gusty cold winds and threats of spring snow.


Hillstone makes their paloma with pink peppercorns and the combination really is fantastic. Citrus spiced pink peppercorns pop in the paloma; their flavor adds gentle heat. Smoky mezcal with grapefruit and pink peppercorns make for a delicious paloma with a vanilla bean salt rim that brings it up a notch.


Mezcal is tequila’s smoky brother, but keep in mind that just like tequilas not all mezcals are made equal. For this paloma I used a light mezcal  with a subtle smoky nose. The sommelier from my restaurant brought me this bottle back from Mexico and I couldn’t resist putting it to good use. Up next I’m thinking pineapple-thyme Mexican 75s with mezcal instead of gin and passion fruit jalapeno combinations too.


Pink Peppercorn Paloma

  • 2.0 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1.5 oz mezcal or tequila or even vodka
  • Squeeze of lime
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup

Paloma Garnish

  • Lemon twist
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean scraped

To make simple syrup blend one part water to one part sugar and heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until the sugar is dissolved. Scrape half of a vanilla bean and mix with sea salt. Run a lime wedge over the rim of the glass and dip in the vanilla salt to coat the rim for the paloma. Freshly squeeze your grapefruits. As a proud Floridian I urge you to actually squeeze your fruit, store-bought is never ever ever the same as fresh.


Use 8-10 whole pink peppercorns per cocktail. Pour your ingredients into a shaker over ice and shake well. In a vanilla salted glass, pour over fresh ice and garnish with a lemon twist. This would also be great served up in a chilled martini or coup glass. Cheers!


Guava Margaritas with a Smoky Salt Rim


My guava love saga continues with tequila, grand marnier, and a smoky salted rim. The brief appearance of spring in New York City has lifted my spirits and instantaneously put a skip in my step. Spring is that magical time of year when the city comes back to life and the parks and rooftops are brimming with pale New Yorkers. As the bodegas fill up with tulips and daffodils, I feel inspired wear espadrilles and to sip spirits in the sun. Guava margaritas will have you celebrating spring and cure your winter blues in one smoky sip.


Tequila reminds me of Miami and bright beach days with dirty coronas and late nights. In these guava margaritas, the sweetness of the guava is offset by the smoked paprika and the hot cayenne in the salted rim. I topped this spring cocktail with grapefruit soda, but prosecco or champagne would be killer. Apparently it is set to snow this Sunday, so I’ll enjoy this sunny spring preview with smoky guava margaritas and homemade Cuban food.


Guava Margaritas with Smoked Salt Rim

Makes 2

  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce grand marnier
  • 2 teaspoons guava marmelade or guava sauce
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Top with grapefruit soda, prosecco, or champagne

Smoked Salt Rim

  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Mix the salt rim ingredients on a flat plate. Run a lime over the rim of the glass and salt the rim. In a shaker over ice add the tequila, grand marnier, guava marmelade, and lime juice. Shake well and pour over fresh ice in the salted highballs. Top with a floater of grapefruit soda (I used San Pellegrino Pommelo) but prosecco or champagne would work well. Garnish the guava margaritas with a lime wheel and cheers to spring!


Note: Mezcal would be amazing in these guava margaritas, but I had silver tequila on hand. I bet this could also be batched as a signature cocktail for a spring or summer party using both grapefruit soda and prosecco to make plenty for a crowd.