The Paloma is a traditional Mexican cocktail combining tequila with grapefruit flavored soda. In this post, I’m sharing both the classic recipe, as well as an updated version featuring grapefruit juice, sparkling water and agave nectar.

This drink is incredibly refreshing and easy to make, perfect for happy hour at home or parties by the pool!

paloma in glass with tajin on the rim and grapefruit wedge on the edge of the glass

One of my husband’s favorite drinks has always been a tequila squirt. It wasn’t until we were on a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico that we realized, his drink had a name and it was a paloma!

After that trip, he continued to drink the traditional Paloma cocktail, which is a combination of tequila, squirt (or another grapefruit flavored soda) and lime juice. It’s a simple cocktail with minimal ingredients, perfect for when you need a quick and easy drink that requires only a glass, ice and 3 ingredients!

Not being a big soda drinker myself, I decided to recreate the drink with fresh grapefruit juice. I added sparkling water, so you still get that bubbly sensation and a little agave nectar for sweetness. It’s less sweet than the original and a little more tart, but so incredibly refreshing!

This is the type of drink that you could sip on all day by the pool or all evening at dinner with Carne Asada Tacos, chips and Avocado Salsa!

ingredients for paloma cocktail

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Tequila – silver tequila is traditionally used in a Paloma, but a darker reposado or anejo can be used in it’s place, if you prefer. You can also swap the tequila for mezcal to make a smoky mezcal paloma.
  • Grapefruit juice – I always prefer to use fresh squeezed juices in cocktails for the best flavor, but if you want to save some time, you can purchase grapefruit juice at the grocery store. Just make sure it’s 100% juice with no sugar added, or it will alter the taste of the cocktail.
  • Sparkling water – soda water or club soda will also work, basically any bubbly water!
  • Lime juice – I also recommend fresh squeezed lime juice here for the best flavor.
  • Agave nectar – this ingredient can be found at most major grocery stores. If you want to use something already in your pantry, you can replace the agave nectar with honey.
  • Tajin or coarse salt – these optional ingredients are added to the rim of the glass when serving the drink. I LOVE pairing a paloma with a Tajin rim. This chili lime seasoning adds a punch of flavor to the rim of the glass. If you don’t have any Tajin in your pantry, coarse salt will also work, or you can chose not to rim the glass.

Step by step instructions

If you would like to rim the glass with Tajin or salt, start at step one. If you’d like to leave the rim off the glass, skip down to step three.

  1. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a glass.
  2. Add Tajin or coarse salt to a small plate.
  3. Dip the rim of the glass in the Tajin or coarse salt.
  4. Fill the ice with glass.
  5. Add the tequila, grapefruit juice, sparkling water, lime juice and agave nectar.
  6. Use a spoon to stir all of the ingredients together in the glass. Serve immediately.

You do not want to shake the ingredients in a paloma because it includes sparkling water, which will bubble over when shaken. This is why this cocktail is stirred instead of shaken.

paloma in glass with ice and tajin rim on the glass with a grapefruit wedge

Tips and tricks

  • Want to make a big batch of these palomas? No problem! I love to mix up a pitcher of this cocktail when I’m having people over for happy hour or a pool party. You can easily update the serving amount in the recipe card below to make 4, 6 or 8 cocktails. The ingredients in the recipe card will automatically update to make the desired amount of cocktails. Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher without ice. Add ice to glasses (with an optional Tajin or salted rim) and pour the cocktail from the pitcher into the glasses with ice.
  • Want a sweeter cocktail? Add more agave nectar. I recommend trying the cocktail first, then adding an additional 1/2 ounce of agave nectar at a time, until you reach the desired sweetness.
  • Cocktail too strong? Top it off with more sparkling water.
  • Want to make a virgin paloma? No problem, simply leave out the tequila and you’ve got a delicious, refreshing bubbly grapefruit drink!
  • Looking for a more traditional paloma recipe? No problem, you’ll find it just below!
collage of images showing ingredients for palomas and paloma in glass with salt rim

How to make a traditional paloma

If you’re like my husband and prefer to stick with a traditional paloma, follow the steps below to make this simple cocktail recipe.

  1. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a glass.
  2. Add coarse salt to a small plate.
  3. Dip the rim of the glass in the coarse salt.
  4. Fill the ice with glass.
  5. Add 1 ounce tequila, 8 ounces squirt and ½ ounce lime juice to the glass.
  6. Use a spoon to stir all of the ingredients together in the glass. Serve immediately.

To make a pitcher of the classic Paloma recipe, combine a 2 gallon bottle of squirt, 1 cup tequila and ¼ cup lime juice in a pitcher or punch bowl. Pour into a glass with ice.

paloma cocktail in glass with tajin rim

What to serve with the drink

A paloma is such a light and refreshing drink, it’s perfect for pairing with spicy Mexican meals! Try it with an afternoon snack, dinner or even brunch. Grab one of the recipes below to pair with the cocktail this weekend!

More cocktail recipes to try

paloma in glass with tajin on the rim and grapefruit wedge on the edge of the glass
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Paloma

The Paloma is a traditional Mexican cocktail combining tequila with grapefruit flavored soda. In this post, I'm sharing both the classic recipe, as well as an updated version featuring grapefruit juice, sparkling water and agave nectar.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce tequila
  • 4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 4 ounces sparkling water
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce agave nectar

Optional

  • 1 teaspoon Tajin, or coarse salt – to rim the glass

Instructions

  • Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a glass.
  • Add Tajin or coarse salt to a small plate.
  • Dip the rim of the glass in the Tajin or coarse salt.
  • Fill the glass with ice.
  • Add the tequila, grapefruit juice, sparkling water, lime juice and agave nectar.
  • Use a spoon to stir all of the ingredients together in the glass. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • To make a pitcher of this cocktail, change the serving amount in the recipe card above from 1 to 4, 8, or more! The recipe ingredients will automatically update to make the desired amount of cocktails. Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher without ice. Add ice to glasses (with an optional Tajin or salted rim) and pour the cocktail from the pitcher into the glasses with ice.
  • To make a traditional Paloma, combine 1 ounce tequila with 8 ounces squirt and ½ ounce lime juice. For a pitcher, combine a 2 gallon bottle of squirt, 1 cup tequila and ¼ cup lime juice.
  • To make a virgin Paloma, omit the tequila. This makes a refreshing mocktail!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 165kcal (8%)Carbohydrates 25g (8%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 1g (2%)Sodium 27mg (1%)Potassium 204mg (6%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 22g (24%)Vitamin A 15mgVitamin C 35mg (42%)Calcium 17mg (2%)Iron 1mg (6%)
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