Paloma Cocktail

Mexico’s national aperitif, the Paloma cocktail, is a simple tequila drink with a thirst-quenching, irresistible appeal. Move over Margarita, here comes something better!

Mexico’s national aperitif, the Paloma cocktail, is a simple tequila drink with a thirst-quenching, irresistible appeal. Move over Margarita, here comes something better!

The Paloma, or ‘Dove’ in Spanish, is easy to admire. Firs, it’s quick to make and so refreshing cocktail. You can make big batches and serve them by the pitcher to friends and family, or you can carefully craft each drink by hand.

Palomas are fabulous with spicy food, too. They taste lighter than a Margarita, and they counterbalance the spiciness of Mexico’s hottest foods. No wonder the drink is so popular!

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled paloma cocktail ingredients.

Ingredient notes:

  • Tequila: I prefer the richer flavor of reposado tequila, which means ‘rested’ tequila (aged in oak for at least 2 months) but you can use blanco, which is lighter and has less body.
  • Lime juice: On average, one lime has 1 tablespoon of juice in it, so plan on using 1 lime per cocktail.
  • Grapefruit soda: Mexicans usually use Squirt or Fresca (Their Fresca is different! It’s not sugar-free!). If you want something made without corn syrup, look for Jarritos or Izze brand grapefruit sodas.
  • Salt: This is usually added as a pinch on top of the drink, but you can salt the rim like a Margarita if you prefer.

Mexico’s national aperitif, the Paloma cocktail, is a simple tequila drink with a thirst-quenching, irresistible appeal. Move over Margarita, here comes something better!

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Skip the soda: Substitute 2 ounces EACH of grapefruit juice and sparkling water for the soda.
  • All juice: Skip the fizz and do 4 ounces of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice instead of soda or sparkling water.
  • Grapefruit bitters: Add another layer of flavor to your Paloma with grapefruit bitters such as Fee Brothers brand.
  • Spicy: Muddle a slice or two of fresh serrano chiles in the glass with the tequila and lime juice (add the ice after).
  • Mezcal Paloma: All tequilas are a kind of mezcal, but not all mezcals are tequilas. Substitute Mezcal for the tequila if you are looking for a smoky, savory flavor.
  • Big batch: To make a batch of 12 cocktails, in a large pitcher filled with ice, add 24 ounces (3 cups) tequila and 6 ounces (3/4 cup) lime juice. Carefully stir in 48 ounces (6 cups) grapefruit soda. Have ice, glassware, salt, and grapefruit wedges on hand so guests can help themselves.

More fun cocktails to try:

Paloma cocktail in a tall clear glass with a wedge of grapefruit on a bamboo toothpick resting on the edge.

Paloma Cocktail

Mexico’s national aperitif, the Paloma cocktail, is a simple tequila drink with a thirst-quenching, irresistible appeal. Move over Margarita, here comes something better!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 181kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila (see note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (see note 2)
  • 4 ounces grapefruit soda (see note 3)
  • pinch coarse salt (see note 4)
  • grapefruit wedge for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Fill a tall glass with ice. Add tequila, and lime juice, then top with soda and garnish with a pinch of salt and a grapefruit wedge if desired.

Notes

  1. Tequila: I prefer the richer flavor of reposado tequila, which means ‘rested’ tequila (aged in oak for at least 2 months) but you can use blanco, which is lighter and has less body.
  2. Lime juice: On average, one lime has 1 tablespoon of juice in it, so plan on using 1 lime per cocktail.
  3. Grapefruit soda: Mexicans usually use Squirt or Fresca (Their Fresca is different! It's not sugar-free!). If you want something made without corn syrup, look for Jarritos or Izze brand grapefruit sodas.
  4. Salt: This is usually added as a pinch on top of the drink, but you can salt the rim like a Margarita if you prefer.
  5. Skip the soda: Substitute 2 ounces EACH of grapefruit juice and sparkling water for the soda.
  6. All juice: Skip the fizz and do 4 ounces of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice instead of soda or sparkling water.
  7. Grapefruit bitters: Add another layer of flavor to your Paloma with grapefruit bitters such as Fee Brothers brand.
  8. Spicy: Muddle a slice or two of fresh serrano chiles in the glass with the tequila and lime juice (add the ice after).
  9. Mezcal Paloma: All tequilas are a kind of mezcal, but not all mezcals are tequilas. Substitute Mezcal for the tequila if you are looking for a smoky, savory flavor.
  10. Big batch: To make a batch of 12 cocktails, in a large pitcher filled with ice, add 24 ounces (3 cups) tequila and 6 ounces (3/4 cup) lime juice. Carefully stir in 48 ounces (6 cups) grapefruit soda. Have ice, glassware, salt, and grapefruit wedges on hand so guests can help themselves. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin C: 5mg
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  1. Dave

    Sounds refreshing and customizable.  I’ll try concentrate and sugar to taste, the bitters, water and my soda stream.

    I concoct my own margarita mix that’s less sweet than he typical commercial brand.   Now I’m a vodka drinker and this would rock with some high octane stuff.5 stars

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