Refreshing and easy to prepare, this Paloma Recipe, like the Margarita, is a tequila-based cocktail made with grapefruit juice, lime juice, and bubbly soda. 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
When I think of making a Paloma at home, I really only think I need four main ingredients – tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and some kind of bubbly soda (either plain or grapefruit-flavored). That said, here is the full breakdown of ingredients needed to make this awesome Paloma recipe.
- 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. Besides, this will prevent the leftover bottle of juice from taking up valuable space in your refrigerator.
- Lime juice – Unlike grapefruit juice, the lime juice needs to be fresh. Trust me.
- 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 is also often used.
How to make a Paloma
- To get started, prepare the chili salt. This part, you guys, is totally optional. 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.
- Transfer the kosher salt, chili powder, and granulated sugar to a shallow mixing bowl and mixing well to combine. Set aside.
- Prepare your glasses. Now, 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.
- 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.
- Make your Paloma cocktail! 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.
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.
- Infuse your booze. strawberry-infused tequila, anyone?
- Make it spicy. Trust me, the Paloma loves a little spice every once in a while. A slice jalapeño should so the trick.
What to serve with a Paloma Cocktail
Paloma’s love to be served with just about everything. That said, they’re particularly fond of all things Mexican or Tex-Mex related.
If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, you may enjoy a cocktail or two with Instant Pot Shredded Salsa Chicken Tacos and Chicken Mole with Homemade Mole Sauce with a side of Homemade Refried Beans and Cilantro Lime Rice.
You may also enjoy these other Mexican-inspired recipes,
- Drunken Beans with Poblanos
- Fish Ceviche Recipe (How to Make Ceviche)
- Chopped Shrimp Salad Recipe with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
- Salsa Verde Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos
- Albondigas Soup Recipe
- Spicy Mexican Stewed Shrimp
If you try making this Paloma Cocktail Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Paloma Cocktail Recipe
For the Chili Salt Rim
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
For the Paloma
- Chili Salt - (or just kosher salt)
- 2 ounces tequila
- 2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp sugar - (optional)
- 2 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.