Spicy Paloma Cocktail

The Paloma Cocktail

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Infuse: 10 mins
Total: 13 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
646 Calories
1g Fat
126g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 646
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 126g 46%
Dietary Fiber 16g 58%
Total Sugars 84g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 332mg 1,660%
Calcium 233mg 18%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 1442mg 31%
*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 great mixed drink that is fun to play around with. A perfect example of its possibilities is the spicy paloma, which brings a little heat to the cocktail in a most unusual way.

Building on the paloma's foundation of tequila and grapefruit, this recipe adds the spice of Thai chile pepper through an infusion. The spirit that is infused is Aperol, a bitter orange-flavored liqueur that has seen increased attention in recent years. It's often enjoyed as an aperitif, which means this cocktail would make a great predecessor for a meal, especially if something equally spiced is on the menu.

The addition of hot pepper is an interesting one and, while logic may tell you differently, it really does work in the final cocktail. To get the perfect infusion, go slow, test frequently, and remember that it takes minutes not hours.


For the Thai Chile Aperol:

For the Spicy Paloma:

  • 2 ounces blanco tequila

  • 3/4 ounce Thai chile-infused Aperol

  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

  • 1 grapefruit slice

  • 2 to 3 ounces club soda, to taste

Steps to Make It

Make Thai Chile Aperol​​

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the Aperol into a glass or jar and add the whole chile pepper. Check the flavor after about 10 minutes. If you want it hotter, steep longer and keep checking it every few minutes.

  3. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a glass bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.


  • Infusion times with hot peppers should only take minutes, not days like milder infusions. It is very important to keep tasting it, or the spirit will be burned with heat and become undrinkable. This can happen quickly.
  • You can make as much chile-infused Aperol as you like, but it's best to infuse only a small amount while testing to avoid waste.
  • Even for a full bottle, it should only require one pepper. If you use more liquid, you may have to extend the infusion time by a few minutes.

Make the Spicy Paloma

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a cocktail shaker, pour the tequila, Aperol, juices, and syrup. Fill with ice.

  3. Shake well.

  4. Strain into a chilled collins glass filled with ice and a slice of grapefruit.

  5. Top with a club soda float by pouring it over the back of a bar spoon to disrupt the flow. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Variations

  • Not a fan of spicy cocktails? Try this paloma with regular Aperol. It makes a fine drink without the chile pepper.
  • Like the paloma, feel free to pour a grapefruit soda into this drink. Jarritos, Squirt, and Q Grapefruit are great choices.

How Strong Is a Spicy Paloma?

The spicy paloma may have a bold flavor, but it's pleasantly mild when it comes to the alcohol. When made according to the recipe, it will average out to an alcohol content of 12 percent ABV (24 proof) or so. That's a normal strength for highball drinks.