Paloma Tequila Cocktail

Paloma cocktail with a salted glass rim and a straw

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
184 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 184
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 5mg 23%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 25mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The paloma is a thirst-quenching tequila cocktail that's very easy to mix up. A favorite drink from Mexico, it is equally popular worldwide and one of the best ways to show off a great tequila. "Paloma" is the Spanish word for "dove," and it's a fitting name for this sparkling grapefruit drink that's in the same family of cocktails as ranch water.

There are many differing thoughts on who invented the Paloma—from Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner and bartender of the La Capilla, a bar in Tequila, Mexico; to a folk song from the early 1860s called "La Paloma"—but no one knows for sure who to credit this refreshing cockail to. 

Though there are variations, two elements are essential in any paloma recipe: tequila and grapefruit. It's a beautiful match, especially with a tart lime accent and a little fizz. Traditionally, grapefruit soda is used, and Jarritos Toronja has typically been the brand of choice. It's not too hard to find this Mexican soda, especially if you look at markets that sell international food or shop online.


Click Play to See This Perfectly Refreshing Paloma Recipe Come Together

"The paloma is Mexico's answer to the gin and tonic. The key to this drink is the grapefruit soda. It's not as widespread in the United States as some other traditional mixers, but it's becoming more available. Instead of lime juice try squeezing in a lime wedge to reach your preferred level of sweetness/tartness." —Tom Macy

Paloma Tequila Cocktail Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for paloma cocktail recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. If desired, rim a collins glass with salt. Begin by wetting the rim with a lime wedge, then roll it in a small dish of salt.

    A wet rim of a highball glass being dipped into salt on a small plate

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Fill the glass with ice and add the tequila and lime juice.

    Ice, tequila, and lime juice added to highball glass

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Top it off with grapefruit soda and enjoy.

    Cocktail ingredients topped off with grapefruit soda in a highball glass

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck


  • If you cannot find Jarritos, Squirt and Fresca are grapefruit sodas that are easy to find. Try the paloma with any grapefruit soda. For a stronger grapefruit flavor, try a craft soda like Hansen's, Izze, and Q Drinks.
  • Choose a great blanco tequila for a paloma. If you're in the mood to splurge, reposados are nice as well. Fight the temptation to be too cheap simply because this is a tall drink. The same quality rules you apply to the margarita should carry over to the paloma.
  • Adjust the lime juice to taste and the soda you're pouring. Start with a small amount—even a squeeze from a lime wedge works—then add more if you like. A lime garnish allows quick adjustments as you drink.

Recipe Variations

  • No grapefruit soda? Pour 2 ounces of grapefruit juice and give it sparkle by filling the glass with club soda.
  • Once you learn to love the paloma, get a taste of the cantarito. The drink is just as refreshing and simply builds on the citrus flavor.
  • Have an adventure with the spicy paloma. The recipe infuses Thai chile pepper into Aperol then adds it to a grapefruit juice-club soda paloma.

How Strong Is the Paloma?

Your paloma can be as strong or as weak as you choose to make it, it all depends on how much soda you pour. Generally, this tall drink is a mild 10 percent ABV (20 proof). That makes this equal to the average glass of wine, so enjoy and salud.