Weekend Sip: Move over, Aperol spritz. This could be the summer of the paloma cocktail

The bottle:Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit, $4.99 for a four-pack

The back story: Every summer sees a cocktail sensation or two. In the last couple of years, the Aperol spritz, a refreshing drink made with the Italian aperitif, has surged in popularity. And let’s not forget frosé, as in frozen rosé.

But this summer we’re predicting the rise of the paloma, a cocktail that combines tequila with some form of grapefruit (as in juice or soda) and lime juice. The sip is hardly a newcomer — and in Mexico, its popularity rivals that of the margarita. But it has trended in the U.S. and globally of late. Drinks International, an industry publication, ranked it No. 36 on its most recent annual list of best-selling cocktails (the old-fashioned is number one and the margarita takes the seventh spot).

All of which leaves room for a company to help us in our paloma-making efforts. Enter Fever-Tree FQVTF, +2.51% a brand of mixers that started in the United Kingdom almost 20 years ago and has become especially known for its higher-end tonic waters. Now, it has just introduced its Sparkling Pink Grapefruit sparkling mixer.

Fever-Tree has always been known for sourcing specialty or top ingredients to produce its drinks. It made its Premium Indian Tonic Water, its first product, with a quinine sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example. Charles Gibb, the company’s North American CEO, also notes that the company will “never, ever use artificial flavorings or sweeteners.” That said, the recipe for the Pink Grapefruit mixer is none too complicated. Gibb says it is made with juice from hand-picked Florida grapefruits, with the fruit providing “the ideal bitter-to-sweet ratio.”

It is too early to say how popular the new product will become, but Fever-Tree has enjoyed solid growth of late. In 2019, company sales increased by 33% to close to $60 million.

What we think about it: What we most appreciate about Fever-Tree is that its products are never too sweet and allow the key ingredient — in this case, grapefruit — to come through cleanly and clearly. In effect, this is a light sip, with all of 30 calories per 6.8-ounce bottle, that is actually a fine summer refresher on its own.

How to enjoy it: As we just indicated, there’s no saying you have to mix this mixer — just chill and have by itself as a low-calorie alternative to a lemon-lime soda. But of course, it does make a fine paloma. And Fever-Tree also suggests pairing it with vodka for another thirst-quenching cocktail suited to the steamy days of summer ahead.

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