Cantaritos are a refreshing and vibrant Mexican cocktail, similar to the Paloma, but more complex. This Mexican drink combines tequila, fresh-squeezed citrus juices (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes) and a splash of grapefruit soda, all served in a traditional clay cup (jarrito de barro).
With a salted rim and garnished with citrus wedges, cantaritos offer a harmonious balance of sweet, tangy, and salty flavors, transporting your taste buds straight to a sun-soaked paradise.
Only a few simple ingredients are required to make this Cantaritos recipe:
- Tequila – your favorite brand
- Grapefruit Soda – Try the different brands to see which one you like best.
- Fruit – Fresh grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime juices.
Cantarito Drink Recipe
To make, it’s all about mixing the tequila and citrus juices then topping with grapefruit soda and a sprinkle of salt.
It’s as easy to make as a Pineapple Martini.
Use what you have on hand, as long as it’s not a low shelf brand. Those leave horrible aftertastes you want to avoid at all costs. Our favorite tequila brands: 1800, Lobos 1707 Tequila, and Don Julio.
We personally use silver tequila, as is tradition when making cantaritos drinks, but to each there own.
There are quite a few brands of grapefruit soda to choose from. The most popular brand is Squirt, but any brand will work. A classic grapefruit flavored Jarrito’s is our go-to. Jarrito’s is also produced in Jalisco, where this Mexican drink was invented.
A new brand we adore is Polar Mixers; their 50/50 mix of grapefruit and lemon juice is a great option.
Who doesn’t love a good cocktail garnish? Here’s a few ideas:
- Chamoy rim
- Tajín rim
- Salt or sugar rim
- Citrus slices
- Jalapeño slices
- Fresh mint leaves
- Do not replace the grapefruit soda with more grapefruit juice. The flavor and texture will be compromised.
- Chill the grapefruit soda prior to using to ensure an icy cold beverage.
Here’s how to mix up this Cantaritos drink, if you’re looking for an extra bump of flavor.
Super Sweet – Add 1 tbsp of simple syrup to sweeten it up. The original drink does not have added sugar, so it will change the balance.
Spicy – muddle some jalapeños in the bottom of the cantaritos before adding any liquid.
Party Punch – Scale up and make a “party punch”. Add the tequila and fruit juices to a large pitcher and stir. When ready to serve, add the sprinkle of salt and grapefruit soda. As grapefruit soda is carbonated it will go flat if added early.
When To Serve
Enjoy an iced cold Cantaritos drink when the sun is shining and you’re feeling fancy. Serve Cantaritos at:
- Cinco de Mayo
- Quinceañera (for the 21+ crowd)
- Taco Tuesday
- Sunday Brunch
- Birthday Parties
The history of cantaritos dates back to the early 20th century in the state of Jalisco. The drink is traditionally served in clay cups (jarrito de barro in Spanish meaning “little jugs”) which are believed to enhance its flavor while keeping it cool.
We bought this set on Amazon and love them. Perfect to customize, if you’re into painting!
If you don’t have Cantaritos or feel like shelling out the cash, a highball glass is a great option.
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Cure the Clay Cups
If using uncured clay cups, it’s recommended they be soaked in cold water prior to use to avoid sweating. Essentially the water “cures” the cup. Just make sure the entire cup is submerged.
Jarrito de Barro Uses
In addition to using these clay cups for Cantaritos cocktails, there are a few other ways to enjoy these unique cups:
- Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria or Bloody Caesar
- Agua fresca
- Fruit-infused water
- Garden planters
- Decorative pottery
- Kitchen utensil holder
- Serving dish for snacks
- 2½ oz tequila (*Note 1)
- 1 oz fresh orange juice (*Note 2)
- 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 pinch salt
- 4-5 oz Grapefruit soda (*Note 3)
- Garnish: grapefruit, lime or lemon wedge.
OPTIONAL: PREP THE CANTARITO CUPS
- Soak the cantaritos in cold water for 10 minutes before proceeding to the next step. (*Note 4)
MAKE THE CANTARITOS
- Add the tequila, citrus juices, and salt to a clay cup (or other tall drinking glass).
- Fill the cup with ice and top with grapefruit soda.
- Garnish with a citrus wedge and enjoy.