Paloma Cocktail Recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on May 20, 2023

Mexican cocktails are known to be super delicious, and the Paloma is no exception. Like the Margarita, it is a tequila-based drink that is sweet, sour, and really refreshing.
Paloma cocktail glasses

The Paloma Cocktail is a sensational summer drink. It's light & refreshing, and it can absolutely keep up with the Margarita, at least if you can handle a bit of fruity bitterness. -This refreshing and palatable cooler has some serious grapefruit notes, which beautifully complement the clear, crisp tequila and lime.

Quick Facts Paloma Cocktail

  • Method: Shaken
  • Flavor profile: sour, slightly bitter, refreshing, light
  • How to serve it: over ice
  • Best glassware: rocks glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 12%, 17 grams of alcohol per serving

Read on to find out when the Paloma got invented and how to make the best version of this bright and refreshing tequila cocktail at home.

Paloma cocktail glasses

Paloma Recipe

A cocktail made of fresh grapefruit mixed with lime juice, Blanco Tequila, and Agave syrup.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Tequila
Servings: 1
Calories: 164kcal
Cost: $2

Equipment

  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Cocktail Shaker
  • 1 Hawthorne Strainer
  • 1 Bar spoon

Ingredients

  • 1.75 oz Patrón Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz Grapefruit juice
  • 1.5 oz Grapefruit soda
  • 0.5 oz Lime juice
  • 0.25 oz Agave syrup

Instructions

  • Add Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and agave syrup into your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
    1.75 oz Patrón Silver Tequila, 1 oz Grapefruit juice, 0.5 oz Lime juice, 0.25 oz Agave syrup
  • Shake until the drink is well chilled and strain into an ice-filled Highball glass.
  • Top up the drink with grapefruit soda water and gently stir the cocktail.
    1.5 oz Grapefruit soda

Nutrition

Serving: 5ozCalories: 164kcalCarbohydrates: 15.5gSodium: 1.03mgPotassium: 68.5mgSugar: 14.75gVitamin C: 17.95mgCalcium: 7.25mgIron: 0.06mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Ingredients - Info & Advice

The Paloma is made of tequila, grapefruit soda, fresh grapefruit, agave syrup, and lime juice. With a bit of attention to detail, you get a truly sensational drink:

Best Tequila for the Paloma: If you're familiar with the Agave spirit, you know there are different types of tequila. Traditionally a Paloma is made with Blanco Tequila, which is also our recommendation for a proper Paloma. 

The spirit has to cut through many tart and sour ingredients, and it needs that crisp bite. Aged tequila, like Anejo and Extra Anejo, is too soft and mild, they would get lost in the mix. -And that would also be a waste of money. 

Another good option is a Reposado, a shortly-aged tequila, still quite crisp and affordable. 

Grapefruit: Grapefruit is the second crucial element in a Paloma. We need two different components here: grapefruit juice and sparkling grapefruit soda. 

Make sure to use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to get beautiful and complex grapefruit notes into the cocktail. Bottled juices from the supermarket will never live up to the taste of fresh, natural citrus fruits.

The pink grapefruit soda helps to balance out all ingredients. Our favorite for the Paloma Cocktail is the Fever Tree sparkling grapefruit soda. The balance of bitter and sweet is perfect, and it delivers on the grapefruit flavor.

Lime juice: For the perfect Paloma Cocktail, use freshly squeezed juice from ripe limes. We recommend squeezing them shortly before mixing the drink to maintain its acidic bite. So, don't let it sit and age for too long.

If you are confused about the terms aged and fresh - both are made from fresh limes. The difference is the timing. To learn more about this, read our guide to lime juice in cocktails.

Agave Syrup: Adding a bit of Agave syrup will balance the drink. The slight sweetness is necessary to counter the bitter elements. It emphasizes the Agave notes from the tequila in the Paloma. 

Salt Rim for the Paloma Cocktail

The classic combination of tequila and salt is optional but also works a treat with the Paloma cocktail. Thus, we really recommend making the effort. 

Sea salt or Fleur de Sel will make a sublime salt rim. The taste is not harsh as it would be when using regular table salt. It's more refined and not overpowering.

Tipps for Mixing

Apart from sticking to using fresh quality ingredients, you should keep these things in mind when you want to make a sensational Paloma Cocktail:

  • Shake with plenty of ice for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
  • However, don't shake the grapefruit soda, as it would lose its fizz.
  • Chill the soda in the fridge instead to ensure you serve your drink ice cold.
  • Serve it with a straw or keep half of the rim free of salt so your guests don't have to swallow salt if they don't want to.
Paloma cocktail

Variations

The Paloma, itself a variation of the Margarita Cocktail, has brought forth various riffs and twists. Some of the most popular and best-known ones are the Monte Paloma, which incorporates Amaro Montenegro. 

Or, if you like a smoky twist on the Paloma, try it with Mezcal in a Mezcal Paloma or even in a Frozen Mezcal Paloma

History of the Paloma Cocktail

Little do we know about the history of one of the most famous cocktails in Mexico, the Paloma. But at least the majority of sources agree on the time of the first creation of this cocktail. 

Most suggest that the birth of the drink is in the 1950s. Some sources are more specific and claim the owner of the bar "La Capilla" Don Javier Delgado Corona invented the drink. La Capilla literally translates to "the chapel" and is a popular bar located in Tequila, Mexico.

Also, there have been many different ways to make this drink: From a two-ingredient approach using only tequila and grapefruit soda ("Simple Paloma") to more complex recipes using a variety of fresh ingredients and sometimes even a pinch of salt.

Other Grapefruit Cocktails

If you have some spare grapefruit and want to try some other drinks made with the pink, bittersweet fruit, you could mix:

  • The Spicy Grapefruit Margarita - a cross between Margarita and Paloma. However, with some extra chili and a bit of coconut.
  • A fantastic grapefruit drink based on rum instead of tequila is the Hemingway Daiquiri. It is a homage to the famous writer and a brilliant twist on the original.
  • Or, if you like your drinks a little less boozy, try the Sea Breeze. It's a refreshing mix of vodka, grapefruit, and cranberry.

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