Recipe: The Best Paloma Cocktail

updated Jan 29, 2020
summer
Paloma Cocktail

Rosey-hued and bittersweet, this grapefruit and tequila highball gets a fizzy finish with a splash of grapefruit soda.

Makes1

Prep5 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

The margarita may be the classic Cinco de Mayo sipper, but this year try Mexico’s other favorite tequila cocktail, the Paloma. Rosey-hued and bittersweet, this grapefruit and tequila highball gets a fizzy finish with a splash of grapefruit soda. You don’t have to abandon the margarita, buy why not pour a pink Paloma with your next order of chips and salsa?

What’s the Best Tequila for a Paloma?

Both the paloma and margarita are cousins in the “sours” family of cocktails, which consist of a spirit, citrus, and sweetener. You’ll want to use 100% agave silver, or blanco, tequila for the most crisp flavor, and save the añejo and reposado (both of which are aged) for sipping. Palomas get their fruit flavor from grapefruit and a squeeze of lime, while margaritas lean heavily on lime and leave orange (juice or liqueur) to play a supporting role.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Freshly-Squeezed Juice Is the Secret to Better Palomas

You can technically make a Paloma with just two ingredients — tequila and grapefruit-flavored soda — but using fresh fruit juice boosts the cocktail’s citrusy flavor and pretty pink color.

When it comes to the soda, Mexican-made grapefruit Jarritos is made with natural fruit flavors and sugar (not high-fructose corn syrup), so it’s my soda of choice. Squirt and Fresca are good alternatives. If grapefruit-flavored La Croix is all you have on hand, add a dash of simple syrup to sweeten the drink.

Salting the rim of the glass is your call, but serving it on the rocks with a wedge of grapefruit or lime is non-negotiable.

Paloma Cocktail

Rosey-hued and bittersweet, this grapefruit and tequila highball gets a fizzy finish with a splash of grapefruit soda.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt (optional)

  • Grapefruit or lime wedge (optional)

  • Ice

  • 1/4 cup

    100% agave blanco or silver tequila (2 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup

    freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (2 ounces, from 1/2 grapefruit)

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lime juice (1/2 ounce)

  • 1/2 cup

    grapefruit soda (4 ounces), such as Jarritos

Instructions

  1. If you'd like a salt rim, pour the salt into a small dish. Moisten the rim of a tall glass with a grapefruit or lime wedge. Invert the glass into the salt, turning it as needed, to coat the rim.

  2. Fill the glass with ice. Pour in the tequila, grapefruit juice, and lime juice, and stir to combine. Top with the grapefruit soda, stir, and garnish with the grapefruit or lime wedge.