Paloma Cocktail

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
0 mins

Made with fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila blanco and more, this fruity Paloma Cocktail is the perfect happy hour thirst-quencher! It’s a classic Mexican mixed drink that comes together in a snap.

If you love grapefruit then you need to try my Salty Dog Cocktail.

Refreshing Grapefruit Tequila Cocktail

Sipping on a fruity, bubbly, boozy beverage is the ultimate form of relaxation. If your go-to mixed drink is starting to lose its charm, it’s time to step up your game with this satisfying Paloma cocktail. The fresh flavors of grapefruit and lime will transport your taste buds to a sunny beach in Mexico.

In addition to the tropical flavors infused into this quick-fix drink, there’s a good amount of alcohol. It’s mostly tequila blanco, but there’s also a splash of Cointreau – an orange liqueur that beautifully complements the lime and grapefruit. Your former happy hour beverage is about to get seriously upstaged!

Such a dazzling drink deserves an equally outstanding presentation. I like to garnish my Paloma with a grapefruit wedge, a lime wedge and a sprig of mint to make it extra pretty. Before I fill my glass, I coat the rim with tajín seasoning so my cocktail looks like it came from an upscale bar! Even if you forego the fancy rim and garnishes, you’re going to end up with a glass of heaven.

Two Paloma cocktails on a plastic cutting board with a cocktail shaker behind them

What is a Paloma?

A Paloma is a must-make Mexican cocktail that features tequila, lime juice and grapefruit-flavored soda. It’s served on the rocks and often garnished with a fresh lime wedge.

It’s a little bit less sweet than a margarita, but it’s arguably an even more popular drink in Mexico. Many people consider it the country’s national cocktail! Plus, this recipe allows you to adjust your Paloma’s sweetness level to accommodate your tastes.

A bottle of cointreau, a bottle of tequila blanco, a bottle of grapefruit sparkling water, a fresh grapefruit and two fresh limes on a marble countertop

The Ingredients

This cocktail is fully loaded with flavor, but you really don’t need much to make it happen. Refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full ingredient amounts.

  • Tequila Blanco: Use any brand you like.
  • Grapefruit Juice: Freshly squeezed.
  • Cointreau: You could also reach for triple sec or Grand Marnier if preferred.
  • Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed.
  • Maple Syrup: Simple syrup and agave nectar also make excellent cocktail sweeteners.
  • Grapefruit Sparkling Water: To enhance the grapefruit flavor and add some bubbly goodness.
  • Lime Wedges: I like to use these as a garnish along with grapefruit wedges and a sprig of mint.
  • Tajín Seasoning: To coat the rim.

What Kind of Tequila Should I Use?

I use classic tequila blanco (also known as silver tequila) for my Paloma cocktails. If you prefer a stronger alcohol flavor in your mixed drinks, you can use aged tequila or another type of mezcal instead. For guaranteed satisfaction, choose a spirit that you wouldn’t mind taking a shot of.

A Paloma cocktail garnished with a grapefruit wedge, a slice of lime and a sprig of mint

How to Make a Paloma Cocktail

You’re going to love how quick and easy this cocktail is! Let’s jump right in.

Prep Glass: Pour a thin layer of tajín seasoning onto a small plate and spread it out evenly. Rub the inside part of a lime wedge along the rim of your glass. Place the cup rim-side down on the tajín-filled plate to coat the rim with tajín. Fill the cup with ice.

A cocktail glass set rim-down on a plate full of tajín seasoning with fresh lime wedges in the background

Shake Cocktail: Add the tequila, grapefruit juice, Cointreau, lime juice and maple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Add 3-4 ice cubes. Put the top on and shake vigorously until the cocktail shaker is frosted.

Strain & Add Sparkling Water: Strain the Paloma mixture over the prepared glass and top off your cocktail with the grapefruit sparkling water.

The shaken drink mixture being poured into a glass with ice and a tajín rim

Garnish & Serve: Garnish your Paloma with a grapefruit wedge, a lime wedge and a mint sprig before drinking up.

A Paloma cocktail on a cutting board beside a second cocktail and a couple of fresh citrus wedges

Tips for Success

Don’t let anything stop you from achieving Paloma cocktail perfection. These tips and tricks have got your back!

  • Get the Most Out of Your Grapefruit: Look for a grapefruit that has smooth, even-colored skin and feels heavy for its size – these factors indicate ripeness. Don’t forget to firmly roll the grapefruit against the counter with your hands before you juice it to increase its yield.
  • Adjust the Flavor of Your Drink: It’s never too late to add something to your cocktail, even if it’s already in the glass. If you find it too sweet, squeeze in a little extra lime juice. If it’s too tart, stir in some more maple syrup. And if it tastes a bit too strong, you can either add more sparkling water or wait for the ice to melt a little.
  • Do Something Differently: I love the zesty, salty, slightly spicy flavor that a tajín rim brings to the table, but you can stick with a salt rim if you’d like. You can also decorate your cocktail with a different garnish such as jalapeño slices, which have the added bonus of infusing your Paloma with a kick of heat. Just listen to what your taste buds are telling you!
Two Paloma cocktails on top of a cutting board on a kitchen countertop

Serving Suggestions

Looking for something to munch on while you enjoy your boozy masterpiece? These dishes won’t disappoint.

  • Pair with Chips and Dip: It’s always nice to serve a Mexican cocktail with a classic Mexican dipping sauce like Restaurant Style Tomato Salsa! If you’re more of a Chips & Guac type of person, that’s another no-fail pairing option.
  • Serve with Buffalo Chicken Wings: These crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings are downright addicting or you can go the Buffalo Cauliflower Wing route if you’re vegan. They combine sweet, smoky and spicy flavors into one mouthwatering snack or appetizer!
  • Pair with Loaded Sweet Potato Wedges: Topped with fresh green onions, crispy bacon bits and melty cheddar cheese, these Loaded Sweet Potato Wedges will taste incredible alongside your bubbly Paloma. Enjoy!
  • Serve alongside Nachos: Ever made sheet pan nachos? They will change your life and are super easy to make. I have a Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos recipe and a Steak Nachos version as well!
A homemade Paloma cocktail on top of a cutting board with a bottle of tequila blanco in the background

Can I Make This in Advance?

I don’t recommend making your Paloma too far in advance since it’s supposed to be bubbly, but you can still get a head start on it if you’d like.

Once you pour the shaken cocktail into a glass (leave out the ice in this case), cover it tightly with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 day. When you’re ready to enjoy your Paloma, simply add the ice, pour in the sparkling water and start sipping!

Print
A grapefruit tequila mixed drink in a glass with ice and a tajín-coated rim

Paloma Cocktail Recipe

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 5 minutes
  • yield Yield: 1 1x
  • category Category: Drink
  • method Method: Cocktail Shaker
  • cuisine Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Made with fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila blanco and more, this fruity Paloma Cocktail is the perfect happy hour thirst-quencher! It’s a classic Mexican mixed drink that comes together in a snap.

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. tequila blanco
  • 2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz. maple syrup (simple syrup or agave would work too)
  • 12oz. grapefruit sparkling water
  • 46 lime wedges
  • 12 tablespoons of tajín seasoning

Instructions

  1. Place tajín on a plate.
  2. Take a lime wedge and rub along the rim of a cup.
  3. Place the cup rim side down in the tajín-filled plate to coat the rim with tajín. Fill the cup with ice.
  4. To a cocktail shaker add tequila, grapefruit juice, Cointreau, lime juice and maple syrup. Add 3-4 ice cubes. Put the top on and shake vigorously until the cocktail shaker is frosted.
  5. Strain the Paloma mixture over ice and top with grapefruit sparkling water.
  6. Garnish with grapefruit wedge, lime wedge and mint sprig.

Notes

To Store: Pour the shaken cocktail into an empty glass, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 day. When ready to serve, add the ice, pour in the sparkling water and enjoy.

Keywords: tequila cocktail, paloma drink, grapefruit cocktail

More Boozy Drinks to Try

Need another easy and refreshing cocktail in your life? I’ll show you two for good measure.

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Hey There

Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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