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Paloma Cocktail Recipe

A refreshing combination of sweet lime, sour grapefruit, and smooth tequila, the Paloma Cocktail is delightful alternative to the margarita!

Paloma Cocktail surrounded by ingredients

Paloma Cocktail

Move over margaritas! There’s a new tequila cocktail in town!

Ok, so the Paloma is not really a new cocktail. In fact, it’s likely been around for generations! However, it is a bit lesser known then the ubiquitous margarita cocktail. The Paloma is actually one of my favorite tequila-based drinks, so I’m excited to share this recipe and introduce more people to this refreshing classic!

If you love margaritas, you’ll love this amazing cocktail recipe! It’s sweet, sour, and refreshing for a great grapefruit-flavored cocktail.

This was one of my favorite drinks to recommend back in my bartending days when a patron asked what I could make with tequila.

Why is it Called a “Paloma?”

“Paloma” is the Spanish word for “dove.” While it is not know exactly where this distinctive cocktail got its name, there is the theory that it was inspired by a popular folk song, La Paloma. This song has been around since the mid-1800s, so this drink has a potentially lengthy history!

A Paloma Cocktail in mason jar, fresh fruit, and bottle of tequila


  • 2 ounces Tequila
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 2 ounces Grapefruit Juice
  • 3 ounces Grapefruit Soda

Optional Garnish Ideas

  • Salt, for rim of glass
  • Grapefruit wheel
  • Lime wedge

Note: This recipe is intended for readers 21+

Paloma ingredients, with text labels

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A glass full of Paloma Cocktail


  1. Fill a large cocktail glass or a mason jar with ice cubes.
  2. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top of the ice.
  3. Pour in the tequila and grapefruit juice.
  4. Top with soda and give a quick stir.
2 step photo collage showing how to make a paloma cocktail

Prep Tips

  • Like a margarita, the Paloma is a cocktail that tastes delicious with a salted rim. It is not required, but it is definitely an option to try. If you like salt on your margarita, you may very well like salt for your Paloma too!
  • Garnish ideas include a fresh grapefruit slice and/or lime wedge.
  • Many paloma recipes simply use club soda, but I think the drink tastes even better using grapefruit soda, such as Squirt or Fresca. The extra touch of sweetness helps to balance out the tartness of the grapefruit juice. You could also use lemon-lime soda (Sprite, 7up, etc.) for a similar effect.
Paloma Cocktail with lime and grapefruit garnishes

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Type of Tequila to Use?

Just like a margarita, I recommend using a middle-of-the-road tequila to make your palomas. Grapefruit juice has a strong flavor profile and will mask some of the tequila taste. So you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy tequila if you’re going to be mixing it!

On the other hand, you probably don’t want to use a super cheap tequila if you don’t have to.

Related: Use vodka instead of tequila to make a Greyhound! Find our Greyhound Cocktail recipe here.

Do You Need to Use Fresh Grapefruit Juice?

Fresh-squeezed juices usually taste cleaner and fresher of course, but you’re welcome to use bottled grapefruit juice or juice from concentrate as well.

Completed Paloma Cocktail and the needed ingredients

Paloma Cocktail Recipe (Printable Recipe Card)

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A glass full of Paloma Cocktail

Paloma Cocktail

A refreshing combination of sweet lime, sour grapefruit, and smooth tequila, the Paloma Cocktail is delightful alternative to the margarita!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: grapefruit, Paloma, tequila
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 196kcal
Author: Stacey
Cost: $10


  • Cocktail Shaker


  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 3 ounces grapefruit soda or lemon-lime soda


  • Fill a large cocktail glass with ice cubes and squeeze fresh lime juice on top of the ice.
  • Pour in the tequila, followed by the grapefruit juice.
    Paloma Cocktail Step by Step
  • Top with soda and give a quick stir.
  • Garnish with a grapefruit slice.


Recipe intended for readers 21+
Nutrition information is provided as an estimate only and will vary based on exact ingredients used.


Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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