Mexico’s national aperitif, the Paloma cocktail, is a simple tequila and grapefruit drink with a thirst-quenching, irresistible appeal.

A collins glass with a Paloma cocktail in it, garnished with a grapefruit wedge.

The Paloma, or “Dove” in Spanish, is quick to make and so refreshing. 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 counter-balance the spiciness of Mexico’s hottest foods, too. No wonder the drink is so popular!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Paloma Cocktail Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled paloma cocktail ingredients.

Ingredient notes

  • Tequila: Tequila blanco is lighter in body and perfect for making cocktails like this one. Tequila reposado (which means “rested” and is aged in oak for at least 2 months) is ideal for sipping.
  • 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.
  • Garnish: A lime wedge is the traditional garnish, but I prefer the color of red grapefruit.

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.
A collins glass with a Paloma cocktail in it, garnished with a grapefruit wedge.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 1 cocktail.
  • All juice: Skip the fizz and do 4 ounces of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice instead of soda.
  • 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.
  • Cantarito: Add ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) EACH lemon juice and orange juice with the lime juice.
  • Greyhound: Substitute gin or vodka for the tequila.
  • 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 (¾ 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 refreshing cocktails

A collins glass with a Paloma cocktail in it, garnished with a grapefruit wedge.

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
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 1 serving
Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 181

Ingredients 

  • 2 ounces tequila (¼ cup, see note 1)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice (1 tablespoon)
  • 4 ounces grapefruit soda (½ cup, see note 2)
  • pinch coarse salt (see note 3)
  • grapefruit wedge for garnish (see note 4)

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: Tequila blanco is lighter in body and perfect for making cocktails like this one. Tequila reposado (which means “rested” and is aged in oak for at least 2 months) is ideal for sipping.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Garnish: A lime wedge is the traditional garnish, but I prefer the color of red grapefruit.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 1 cocktail.
  6. All juice: Skip the fizz and do 4 ounces of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice instead of soda.
  7. 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.
  8. Cantarito: Add ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) EACH lemon juice and orange juice with the lime juice.
  9. Greyhound: Substitute gin or vodka for the tequila.
  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 (¾ 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: 1cocktailCalories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSodium: 12mgPotassium: 19mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 7IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. 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