If there’s one genetically modified organism we Texans can get behind, it’s our beloved grapefruit, the pride of the Rio Grande Valley, whose warm temperatures and loamy soils, combined with the aforementioned technological tinkering, produce fruits that are vibrantly red, unusually sweet, and, as New York Times reporter R. W. Apple Jr. once described them, “fatter than a slow-pitch softball.” These irresistible qualities have made Texas grapefruit a major player on the citrus circuit, so much so that in 1993 the state legislature, having determined the popular produce to be “as nutritious as it is palate-pleasing” and “a boon to the state economy,” declared it the official fruit of Texas (it even has its own vanity plate).
Lucky for us these golden globes are currently in season, and what better way to enjoy them than in conjunction with another of our favorite things: tequila. Lost to time are the origins of the Paloma, and no one seems to know why the cocktail was named for a peaceful bird. The drink is often made with grapefruit soda, like Jarritos or Squirt, but I say save that for the rest of the year and try this bracing concoction from the Gage Hotel’s White Buffalo Bar, in Marathon: it’s tantalizingly tingly with Topo Chico, deliciously bittersweet with fresh citrus, and intriguingly smoky with tequila blanco.
White Buffalo Paloma
2 ounces tequila blanco
4 ounces fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
3 ounces Topo Chico
2 lime wedges
Salt the rim of a glass (some prefer to add a pinch of salt to the drink instead), then add the tequila, grapefruit juice, and Topo Chico. Squeeze and add the lime wedges. Fill the glass with ice and stir. If you like your Paloma a touch sweeter, you can add a little simple syrup or superfine sugar.