“When it comes to putting together flavours, basic ingredients and novelty-type flavours work for me,” says Sam Smith, bartender at Melbourne’s Mexican-inspired CBD cantina Mesa Verde. “That’s what really calls to me on a menu. Nothing too technical, but something that reads well. I’ve always had this silly way of putting things together.”
For example: the Luchador’s Breakfast is a variation on the Paloma, combining the classic tequila and grapefruit pairing with smoked marmalade to move it beyond tradition. “It’s still a tart drink,” says Smith. “It has a subtle sweetness and smokiness that shines through from start to finish.”
The beauty of Smith’s cocktail is that the complex flavours don’t require much work to achieve. For the home bartender, smoking the off-the-shelf marmalade is the only prep required, and it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
“It’s a Rose’s marmalade I’ve smoked with cherry wood,” says Smith. “It’s just a standard orange English marmalade – not sweet, but tart.” To infuse the smoke, all you need is a gas stove or barbeque. “Put a disposable aluminium tray – or just a steel baking tray – over the burners and then wood chips on the bottom. Put the marmalade in a vessel such as a steel bowl or another little aluminium container, then foil over the top.” Once smoked for about 10 minutes, the marmalade should be ready to go.
While a traditional Paloma is built in the glass, the introduction of marmalade to the drink calls for a shaker. “For the marmalade to break down into the cocktail you need to give it a bit of a belting,” says Smith. Add tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice and the marmalade into a shaker filled with ice. Smith opts for Arette Blanco. “It’s a highland tequila, quite subtle,” says Smith. “It’s a little sweet and peppery, and very versatile. You don’t want to be using anything too funky and refined as a cocktail ingredient.”
Once thoroughly shaken, Smith double-strains it (once through a regular strainer, and again through a fine strainer) into a salt-rimmed Collins glass and tops it with ice. The final touch is Schweppes grapefruit-infused mineral water to give the drink some length and subtle carbonation. “It works with a strong flavour like the marmalade,” says Smith. “It just adds that soft grapefruit accent on it, that fizz in the end. I wasn’t looking for anything to really take over too much, just to complement it. It works really well.”
Here’s how to make Smith’s twist on the Paloma at home.
Sam Smith’s Luchador’s Breakfast
Serves one. Approx. 1.4 standard drinks.
45ml Arette Blanco
30ml lime juice
45ml grapefruit juice
A bar spoon of any smoked citrus marmalade (Smith smokes the marmalade with cherry wood)
A large pinch of salt (to rim)
Schweppes grapefruit-infused natural mineral water
Add tequila, lime, grapefruit and marmalade to a cocktail shaker and shake.
Rim a tall glass with flaky salt. Double-strain liquid into glass.
Top with Schweppes grapefruit-infused natural mineral water. Garnish with a wheel of dehydrated grapefruit (or any citrus). Serve.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Schweppes. See more Schweppes cocktail recipes. 18+ only. Please drink responsibly.