This Paloma Recipe, like the Margarita, is a tequila-based cocktail made with grapefruit juice, lime juice, and bubbly soda. Refreshing and easy to prepare, learn how to make a Paloma cocktail and enjoy this fun and fruity Mexican cocktail all summer long.
Travel to Mexico and you’ll quickly learn that the margarita, while immensely popular, may not be the preferred tequila cocktail.
In its place, you ask? Or, at the very least, tied for the top position? The Paloma, or La Paloma.
Traditionally, the Paloma is served on the rocks by mixing fresh lime juice, fresh grapefruit juice, tequila, and grapefruit-flavored soda (or club soda) in a highball glass. Less traditionally, however, or here in the States, you’ll find this treasured Mexican cocktail made with Fresca or Squirt.
Regardless of how you enjoy this drink, it’s everywhere in Mexico and incredibly easy to make right at home.
Paloma Cocktail Ingredients
- Salt – In the recipe card below, you’ll find that I mixed together salt, chili powder, and sugar to make a somewhat smoky salt mixture. I prefer this personally since straight salt is too harsh. That said, this is entirely optional and not what one would consider “traditional” or “required” to make an authentic Paloma recipe. Feel free to add just salt, or salt just half the rim of your glass.
- Tequila – The general consensus, it seems, is that tequila Blanco is the way to go when making this Paloma recipe. That said, if you love a particular tequila, may that be a Resposados or you want to give it a try with Mezcal, do it.
- Grapefruit juice – Ok, so technically you can use bottled pre-juiced grapefruit juice if you really want to. But, I recommend just juicing a grapefruit.
- Fresh lime juice
- Sugar (optional) – Added sugar is optional and depends largely on what type of soda you use. In general, I find that if I add a grapefruit-flavored soda I don’t need any additional sugar. If I use Club Soda, on the other hand, I’m more likely to add a little sugar in there.
- Club soda or grapefruit-flavored soda – The addition of a grapefruit-flavored soda is more traditional (Jarritos, for example) but Club Soda can also be used.
How to Make a Paloma Cocktail
- Prepare the chili salt by combining ingredients in a small, shallow bowl. Please note that you do not have to rim your glass with chili salt. If preferred, you may simply choose to add just salt or omit the salt altogether.
- Traditionally a highball glass is used when serving a Paloma. As you can see, I chose to use rocks glasses – feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
- Moisten the rim of your glass with a grapefruit or lime wedge, invert your glass into the prepared chili salt mixture, and turn to coat.
- Fill each glass with ice then add the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, sugar (if desired), and gently stir well to combine.
- Top with club soda or grapefruit-flavored soda, stir again and garnish with a grapefruit and lime wedge.
There are loads of ways to dress up and have fun with this classic Paloma recipe.
- Swap tequila for mezcal. Tequilas smokier cousin, mezcal also comes from agave and Mexico!
- Add some herbs. Add the tequila, lime, and grapefruit juice to a cocktail shaker with a sprig of thyme or mint. Shake, shake, shake, then strain and pour.
- Try making your Paloma with fruity-infused tequila.
- Add some spice with a little jalapeño.
Looking for more delicious cocktail recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Easy Sangria Recipe
- Long Island Iced Tea Recipe
- Frozen Peach Wine Slushies Recipe
- Cherry Turmeric Painkiller Cocktail
- Limoncello Gin Cocktail Recipe with Fresh Thyme
- Cherry Bourbon Milkshake Recipe with Espresso
Have you tried making this Paloma Cocktail Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Paloma Cocktail Recipe
For the Chili Salt Rim
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the Paloma
- Chili Salt - (or just kosher salt)
- 2 fluid ounces tequila
- 2 fluid ounces fresh grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar - (optional)
- 2 fluid ounces club soda - or grapefruit soda
- Grapefruit and lime wedges - for serving
- Prepare the chili salt. Transfer the kosher salt, chili powder, and granulated sugar to a shallow mixing bowl and mixing well to combine. Set aside (see notes).
- Prepare your glasses. Moisten the rim of your glass (see notes) with a grapefruit or lime wedge, invert your glass into the prepared chili salt mixture, and turn to coat.
- Make your Paloma. Fill the glass with ice. Fill with the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, sugar (if desired), and gently stir well to combine. Top with club soda or grapefruit-flavored soda, stir again, and garnish with a grapefruit and lime wedge.
- You do not have to rim your glass with chili-salt. If preferred, you may simply choose to add just salt or omit the salt altogether.
- Traditionally, a highball glass is used when serving a Paloma. However, I chose to use rocks glass because I love the shape. You may use whatever you have on hand.
- Wait to add any bubbly club soda or grapefruit soda until just before serving.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Thanks, TheForkedSpoon! Love this recipe, especially the variations section. I usually use mostly tequila with a splash of mezcal, and I serve my Palomas with a thyme sprig and a grapefruit wedge. Love nibbling on the thyme while I sip. I also put a little Tajin into my salt mixture. This recipe is where the magic started though, about a year and a half ago.
hi there – how did you rim the side of the glass in such a neat way? could you give us a step by step? thanks!
Jessica Randhawa says
It’s honey 🙂