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The Paloma Cocktail-Consumatorium

The Paloma Cocktail – Margarita’s More Popular Cousin

Paloma CocktailAccording to the Washington Post, a self-proclaimed authority on such things, the Paloma Cocktail is even more popular than the Margarita in Mexico. I don’t know anything about that, but it is una muy buena bebida and a perfect summer cooler for those looking for a tequila-based cocktail that goes down really easy . . . almost too easy, actually.

Not surprisingly, the Paloma’s base ingredient is tequila. And, as you’d expect for a drink that hails from Mexico, lime juice and salt are among its other ingredients. The original recipe also calls for grapefruit soda as the mixer. Jarritos is the brand most often mentioned in published recipes, but good luck finding it in most parts of the US. Squirt (a “citrus” soda) is more popular, but doesn’t work well in this drink, IMO. Eager to find a solution to this dilemma, the Consumatorium crew experimented with several ways of making this great cocktail and we think we’ve found a winner.

First, the final recipe, then we’ll lay out a couple of the other candidates just in case you’d like to try ’em.

Paloma Cocktail Recipe

  • 2 oz Reposado Tequila (we used Hornitos)
  • 6 oz Whole Foods Pink Grapefruit Italian Soda
  • 3/4 oz Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1-2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters
  • Pinch of salt (we prefer it in the glass, but you can salt the rim if you prefer – don’t do both)
  • Grapefruit Slice or Lime Wedge as Garnish

Pour tequila, lime juice, bitters and salt into a highball glass. Stir and fill the glass with ice. Fill the glass with grapefruit soda. Garnish and serve.


Note: Yes, it seems wrong to use Italian soda in a fundamentally Mexican drink. We have no national biases here 🙂

Why You’ll Like the Paloma Cocktail

If you like grapefruit, you’ll love the taste. It is crisp, and a little tart, although that’s well-balanced with the sweetness of the soda. There is no mistaking the similarities to the margarita, but the Paloma is fruitier. The grapefruit dominates the tequila a bit, but not so much as to make the tequila flavor go away entirely. This is an excellent drink for those who don’t like a strong taste of alcohol in their cocktails. You know who you are. In a word, refreshing.

To get to our final concoction, we tried a couple of other recipes. One using club soda and grapefruit juice and the other using Izze Sparkling Grapefruit Soda, which is readily available.

The combination of grapefruit juice and club soda came out, well, a bit too juicy . . . and sort bland. It just didn’t have the grapefruit punch that our other candidates had. We added some simple syrup and created a passable version of the drink, although not great. The recipe we ended up with was:

  • 2 oz Reposado Tequila
  • 2 oz Grapefruit Juice (not grapefruit juice cocktail, but fresh grapefruit juice)
  • 4 oz of Club Soda
  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • Pinch of salt in the glass

For our trial with Izze Sparkling Grapefruit soda, we used the standard recipe, but the drink came out much too sweet. The Izze’s sweet taste just overpowers the rest of the ingredients. Perhaps if a lot more lime juice was used? After we discovered the Whole Foods soda, we didn’t bother.

  • 2 oz Reposado Tequila
  • 6 oz Izze Sparkling Grapefruit Soda
  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice
  • A pinch of salt in the glass.

So, next time you’re thinking that a margarita is just what you’d like, give a Paloma a try. A great drink that you and your guests will love.

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About Will Herman (103 Posts)

I don't know what it takes to become a professional mixologist, but I'm going to night school at my own home bar to achieve that status. For now, I'm an amateur cocktail creator who enjoys learning about new drinks and rediscovering the classics.


  1. Please… IMO doesn’t cut it with the classic Paloma…. Buy some juicy limes and get a lime squeezer from your local Mexican “supermercado”, and use about twice as many limes as you normally would believe goes into a drink – it’s not a pain with the squeezer (and you can never over do lime in a big glass). Mix this libation in the big black plastic souvenir glasses from the local theater, and go for 24 oz of Squirt – min. 4 to 8 oz of Tarantula 100 – and after you’ve stirred it up – top the ice with a combo of salt and lime juice (if you can find “sal limon” it’s even easier). Just be careful if you do this on an empty stomach.


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