La Paloma: A Cinco de Mayo Cocktail c/o Boxcar Cantina

Amy Kundrat

If anyone knows about how to celebrate the upcoming Cinco de Mayo, it's Boxcar Cantina in Greenwich.

We asked the New Mexican restaurant, whose commitment to local & sustainable food brings them as both vendor and customer to weekly farmers' markets, to share a recipe for the holiday. Not only did they give us the recipe for the tempting cocktail seen here, but also a bit of a history lesson.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates a victory of the Mexican people over the French on May 5, 1862. France invaded Mexico in January of 1862 ostensibly to collect on debts owed to them by the Mexican government. On May 5th 1862 standing in the path of the French as they marched to Mexico City was a small, poorly trained and sadly equipped Mexican militia commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza, a former seminarian, determined patriot and defender of Mexican democracy. Outnumbered 2 to 1, Zaragoza's troops fought bravely and pulled off a miracle by winning a decisive victory that day over the French. The Battle of Cinco de Mayo, is now legendary because it gave the Mexican people a sense of national unity and it re-affirmed their courage in defending their right to freedom and liberty. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of this heritage and it is done with typical Mexican passion for life through festive music and dance.

La Paloma

La Paloma is a light and refreshing cocktail that Nancy Roper (Boxcar's owner) enjoyed while she was visiting Jose Cuervo's agave fields in Guadalajara. 

Ingredients for Two Drinks 

  • 3 oz of tequila made from 100% agave 
  • 1/2 of a freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit 
  • Splash of Jarritos Toronja (a grapefruit flavored Mexican soda made with cane sugar--no HFCS)  
  • Ice
  • Grapefruit slices for garnish


Shake the tequila and fresh squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice with ice. Pour into a sugar rimmed glass and add the splash of Jarritos Toronja. Use a slice of grapefruit as garnish.