How to Make a Paloma, the Ultimate Summer Cocktail

the pioneer woman's paloma recipe
Sip on a Fizzy, Refreshing Paloma CocktailHector Manuel Sanchez

If you're a big fan of margaritas or Ree Drummond's signature drink, ranch water, it's time to meet another tasty tequila cocktail: the paloma. This recipe doubles down on grapefruit flavor with a little bit of fresh grapefruit juice and grapefruit soda. Fresh lime juice helps add more acidity to balance the sweetness of the soda and a pinch of salt in the glass rounds out all of the flavors. Whether a Cinco de Mayo fiesta or a fun tacos for Taco Tuesday, just whip up some palomas to serve with a spread of Mexican food. This refreshing sipper is also perfect for all your warm weather get-togethers. It's a quick summer cocktail that you can easily double or triple for a crowd.

What are the ingredients in a paloma?

Traditionally, a paloma cocktail is made with tequila blanco and grapefruit flavored soda, like Jarritos de Toronja. You can use any grapefruit flavored soda like fresca or even Squirt. We love the addition of lime for acidity and a more complex citrus flavor.

What can you use instead of grapefruit soda in a paloma?

If you can't find grapefruit soda, a mix of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice combined with sparkling water is the perfect swap. To mock the sweetness of grapefruit soda, you may want to add a splash of simple syrup or agave nectar to your paloma.

Does the grapefruit juice have to be fresh?

There's no comparison to the taste of freshly-squeezed citrus juice, so it should always be your first choice. The store-bought stuff just isn't the same! However, in a pinch, you can use store-bought grapefruit juice to make a paloma. Just make sure what you grab is 100% grapefruit juice and not from concentrate. 

What tequila do you use for a paloma? 

Tequila blanco is traditional, but you can also make this with a reposado tequila if you prefer.  We don't recommend using an anejo tequilla, or one that has been aged for a long time in oak, because it will compete with the bright, refreshing flavors of the grapefruit soda.

How do you garnish a paloma?

Keep it simple with grapefruit slices and lime wedges! Feel free to dip the rim of each glass in salt, if that's your jam.

What's the difference between a margarita and a paloma?

While they both may be citrusy tequila cocktails, a classic margarita calls for lime juice and an orange liqueur that adds a touch of sweetness. The paloma, however, relies on grapefruit juice, lime juice, and a splash of fizzy grapefruit soda for its tart, subtly sweet, citrus punch. You could call the two of them cocktail cousins.

Yields: 3 servings

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins


  • 6 oz.

    tequila blanco

  • 1 1/2 oz.

    fresh lime juice

  • 6 oz.

    fresh grapefruit juice

  • Pinch of salt

  • Crushed ice, for serving

  • 12 oz.

    grapefruit soda, such as Jarritos, Squirt, or Fresca

  • 3

    slices fresh pink or red grapefruit, for serving

  • 3

    lime wedges, for serving


  1. Divide the tequila and lime and grapefruit juices among the 3 glasses. Add a pinch of salt to each glass. Fill three-quarters full of ice, then stir to combine. Top with grapefruit soda, then garnish with a slice of grapefruit and a lime wedge.

Tip: For a salted rim, spread about 1/4-cup kosher salt onto a small plate. Rub the tops of the glasses with the lime wedges and dip into the salt, before making the cocktail.

You Might Also Like