Paloma cocktail glasses

Paloma

By Timo Torner / Last updated on July 1, 2022 
Mexican cocktails are delicious, and the Paloma is no exception. Like the Margarita, it is a Tequila based cocktail that is sweet, sour, and really refreshing.

Mexican cocktails are sensational summer drinks. Of course, the classic Margarita is the most famous cocktail export. But that doesn't mean some others aren't equally as good. 

And one of these drinks that can absolutely keep up with the Margarita is the Paloma cocktail. At least if you can handle a bit of fruity bitterness.

This refreshing and palatable cooler has some serious grapefruit notes. -A flavor that beautifully complements clear, crisp Tequila and lime juice. The resulting drink is another delightful way to enjoy Tequila without having to go for the ordinary shot.

Read on to find out when the Paloma got invented and how to make this brilliant Tequila cocktail at home.

Ingredients for making a Paloma cocktail

The Paloma is made of Tequila, grapefruit soda, fresh grapefruit, agave syrup, and lime juice. And with a bit of attention to detail in regards to the ingredients, you get a truly sensational drink.

Best Tequila for the Paloma

If you're familiar with the Agave spirit, you know that there different types of Tequila. The range goes from unaged silver Tequilas to Reposados to Añejo and Extra Anejo Tequila. 

Traditionally a Paloma is made with silver Tequila, also called Blanco Tequila. And to me, that continues to be the best choice for a proper Paloma. 

The reason for me to stick to unaged Tequila is that it has to stand up against so many tart and sour ingredients. In contrast, aged Tequilas, like Anejo and Extra Anejo, have a softer and more refined flavor profile. 

So, in a Paloma cocktail, the more complex flavors of an aged spirit will get lost. -And that would also be a waste of money. However, the bright and crips silver Tequila is a perfect match for grapefruit and lime. 

Another nice option would be a Reposado, a shortly-aged Tequila still quite boozy in taste. Or, if you like a smoky twist on the Paloma, try it with Mezcal

Paloma cocktail

Grapefruit for the Paloma cocktail

Grapefruit is the second crucial element in a Paloma as it asks for two ingredients with that flavor. One is the grapefruit juice, and the other is 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. But that's exactly what you want, here.

The pink grapefruit soda helps to balance out all ingredients. My favorite one to use in a Paloma is the Fever Tree sparkling grapefruit soda. The ratio of bitterness and sweetness is just perfect, and it delivers on the grapefruit flavor.

Lime juice

In the world of mixology, fresh products are crucial. So, I have to keep repeating myself: If you want the perfect Paloma cocktail, use freshly squeezed juice from beautiful ripe limes. 

I recommend using fresh lime juice for the Paloma instead of aged lime juice. That means you should squeeze your lime only shortly before mixing your drink.

If you are confused about the terms aged and fresh - both are made from fresh limes. The difference is the time of juicing your fruits. 

In case you want to know more about aged lime juice, here's a guide to lime juice in cocktails.

Agave Syrup

Further, adding a bit of Agave syrup will balance the drink. The touch of sweetness is necessary to counter the bitter elements and the subtle alcoholic bite from the Tequila. Also, it emphasizes the Agave notes from the Tequila in the Paloma. 

Salt for the rim

The typical combination of Tequila and salt also works a treat with the Paloma cocktail. But, of course, it is optional. I do recommend it, though. I love a good salt rim with my favorite Mexican cocktails.

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

Paloma-cocktail

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. 

They all suggest that, most likely, 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 try a Spicy Grapefruit Margarita. It's kind of 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.

Finally, if you like your drinks a little less boozy, try the Sea Breeze. It's a refreshing mix of Vodka, grapefruit, and cranberry.

Paloma cocktail glasses

Paloma

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

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: 5oz | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.5g | Protein: 0.83g | Fat: 0.875g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 3.03mg | Potassium: 200.5mg | Sugar: 41.75g | Vitamin C: 52.95mg | Calcium: 23.25mg | Iron: 0.18mg
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