This crisp and citrusy cocktail is a refreshing way to enjoy tequila that isn’t a run of the mill Margarita or a Paloma. If you’re looking to expand your summer drink repertoire, give the Cantarito a try!
The Cantarito is similar to a classic Paloma, but it adds fresh orange and grapefruit juices and uses a bit less grapefruit soda. It’s commonly made with blanco tequila, but feel free to try it with a reposado for a slightly deeper flavor.
What’s in it?
This classic Cantarito is made with:
- Tequila blanco
- Fresh lime juice
- Fresh grapefruit juice
- Fresh orange juice
- Pinch of salt
- Grapefruit soda
How to make it:
The Cantarito is a really easy cocktail to make. Simply add the tequila, freshly squeezed juices, and a pinch of salt to a cocktail shaker, fill it about ¾ with ice, and shake until chilled.
Strain the liquid into a highball glass (or a traditional clay cup) filled with ice, and top with grapefruit soda.
Garnish with an array of fresh citrus slices and enjoy! A small pinch of salt enhances the sweet and sour flavors of the drink, so don’t skip it.
What grapefruit soda should I use?
This is entirely up to you, but I do recommend using a high quality, not-too-sweet one like Fever-Tree Pink Grapefruit or the Italian pink grapefruit sodas sold in glass bottles at natural foods stores like Whole Foods.
If you can’t find these, you can substitute with easy to find grapefruit sodas like Fresca or Jarritos.
What to do if you don’t have grapefruit soda
If you want to whip up a batch of these, but don’t have any grapefruit soda on hand, no worries!
You can make your own by combining fresh pink grapefruit juice with a little simple syrup and some sparkling water.
This is a great way to make an all natural cocktail, and it also lets you determine exactly how sweet your final drink is.
I recommend starting with: 1 ½ ounces pink grapefruit juice, ½ ounce of simple syrup, and then topping with sparkling water to fill the glass.
You can add more simple syrup for a sweeter drink. Add a ¼ ounce at a time until you reach the desired level of sweetness.
For clarity, here’s the updated ingredient list for making a Cantarito without grapefruit soda:
- 2 oz tequila blanco
- 1 ½ oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- ½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ oz freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- Sparkling water
Instructions: Combine all ingredients except the sparkling water in a cocktail shaker and fill it about ¾ with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain the liquid into your glass or cup filled with ice. Top with sparkling water and enjoy!
How to make a quick simple syrup
Simple syrup is as simple as it gets! Combine equal parts sugar and water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Learn more in my Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Syrups!
Store any leftovers in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also add an ounce of vodka or grain alcohol to the syrup to help it stay fresh even longer.
For an easy small batch that’s quick to dissolve, mix ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water. I like to use a mason jar and stir with a long handled bar spoon until the sugar has dissolved (about 1-2 minutes).
You can make more if you’re planning to make a big batch of Cantaritos, or if you use simple syrup often in other drinks.
Make a traditional Cantarito with the proper vessel
A classic Cantarito is served in a small clay cup, also known as a jarrito. This vessel keeps the drink nicely chilled and makes for a beautiful and rustic presentation.
Batching Cantaritos for a group
This recipe batches easily to serve to a group. Simply multiply the ingredients by the number of your guests, then add the tequila, juices, and salt to a pitcher and stir well.
Chill in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve (at least an hour), then pour into highball glasses over ice and top with grapefruit soda.
Ingredients for Cantaritos for 4:
- 8 oz tequila
- 2 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
- Generous pinch of salt
- 12 oz grapefruit soda
You may also like these other tequila cocktail recipes:
- Classic Margaritas
- Perfect Frozen Margaritas
- Tommy’s Margarita
- Coconut Orange Blossom Margarita
- Raspberry Jasmine Green Tea Paloma
- 2 oz tequila blanco
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
- Pinch salt
- 3 oz grapefruit soda
- Combine the tequila, citrus juices, and salt in a cocktail shaker and fill 3/4 with ice.
- Shake until chilled, about 12 seconds.
- Strain the liquid into a highball glass (or a traditional clay cup) filled with ice and garnish with slices of fresh citrus.