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June 9, 2022


Blushing with grapefruit and just the right tequila kick, the Paloma is a Mexican cocktail that’s as refreshing as a Pacific breeze on a hot day.


three homemade Palomas in a salt rimmed glasses over ice garnished with grapefruit wedges with extra wedges on the counter
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Our Very Favorite, Very Best Paloma Cocktail Recipe!

While the most simple paloma recipe—grapefruit soda with tequila—is classic and rustic and pretty glorious in its own right, we cannot resist a little upgrade. And honestly, while that pared down soda-and-tequila situation may taste downright transcendent on a lazy beach in Mexico, you might find that it lacks a bit of magic once you leave those lovely tropical climes. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a paloma at home! You’ll just have to put in a little extra effort to make it taste truly fab. Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice adds the lightness and freshness that this simple cocktail needs, without overcomplicating things. We give you—our favorite paloma with grapefruit juice! A long, tall sipper to cool your hottest summer days and steamiest summer nights.

tequila blanco, grapefruit juice, lime juice, bitters, grapefruit soda, salt a jigger and a salt rimmed glass for Paloma

What Is the Difference Between a Margarita and a Paloma?

And, one asks gingerly, is a paloma better than a margarita? What a question! OK, first of all—this is a really good question! Palomas and margaritas are like cousins. Hailing from Mexico, both drinks are beachy, icy and refreshing. They call to mind long lazy ocean-side afternoons and they’re both made with lots of citrus and blanco tequila! But, that’s where things start diverging. Here’s an easy way to think about the two drinks:

  • Margarita = tequila + lime juice + triple sec

  • Paloma = tequila + lime juice + grapefruit soda + grapefruit juice

tequila being poured into a cocktail shaker with grapefruit juice, lime juice and bitters for a homemade paloma

What Tequila Is Best for a Paloma?

Refreshing and light by nature, you might not be surprised to find that the paloma is made with blanco tequila, which is itself light and refreshing (though yes, also quite boozy!). As ever, you don’t want to make a cocktail with tequila that you wouldn’t happily sip straight, but you also don’t need to use the fancy fanciest! You’re going to mix it with some powerful flavors, so just use something good, but not top-shelf. A few trust brands that we always reach for when mixing up a round or two of palomas are:

  • Espolòn

  • Don Julio

  • Cazadores

  • Herradura

  • Olmeca Altos

A Paloma being poured from a cocktail shaker into a salt lined glass full of ice made with tequila, grapefruit & lime juices

How To Make A Perfect Paloma

Likely created in the 1950s, this cocktail is so simple its hard to assign it a true origin story—people have probably been mixing tequila and grapefruit soda together since, well, since grapefruit soda was invented! Because they’re a terrific combo! Here’s how to make a truly magical paloma cocktail:

  1. Salt the rim of your favorite cocktail class! This drink is classified as a highball, which means a long, tall glass is the classic choice. However, you can feel free to serve it up in whatever glass you like best!

  2. Squeeze all your citrus. Squeeze it up! You should now be surrounded by intensely excellent aromas.

  3. Grab your shaker! Shake up the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, ice and bitters!

  4. Strain into an ice-filled glass (the salt-rimmed one) and top it off with the grapefruit soda of your choice! Both Squirt (yes, Squirt!) and Jarritos are classic picks. Garnish and...

  5. Sip!

paloma in a salt rimmed glass full of ice garnished with a grapefruit wedge surrounded by wedges of grapefruit on the counter

Tools You’ll Need

More Easy Summer Cocktail Recipes to Try

three homemade Palomas in a salt rimmed glasses over ice garnished with grapefruit wedges with extra wedges on the counter

Cheers to Summer!

Palomas won’t keep you hydrated, but they do make for some mighty good porch sitting! Take this recipe for a spin and let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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  • Serves: 1
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 188


  • 2 ounces tequila blanco
  • 1.5 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Splash of bitters
  • 2 ounces grapefruit soda (such as Squirt or Jarritos)
  • Salt for the rim of the glass


  1. Place the salt on a small plate. Rub the rim of a highball or rocks glass with lime; dip the rim in the plate of salt. Fill the glass with ice and set aside.

  2. Combine tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.

  3. Pour through a strainer into prepared glass. Top with grapefruit soda, garnish with a grapefruit wedge or peel and serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories188
  • Protein0 g
  • Carbohydrates15 g
  • Total Fat0 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium12 mg
  • Total Sugars11 g


Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Kathryn

    Can you get the recipes for a batch of Palomas? I’d like to make them by the pitcher!

    8 ounces tequila blanco
    6 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
    4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
    4 Splash of bitters
    8 ounces grapefruit soda (such as Squirt or Jarritos)
    Salt for the rim of the glass

    Just multiply the amount you want....These amounts will make 4 Palomas. Not sure how big your pitcher is, but you can double these amounts if you want 8 cocktails in a pitcher. If you double the amounts I just listed, then you will need a 8 cup pitcher. and it will make about 8 cocktails.

  • Annie

    It appears that there is a salt / chili powder combo on the glass rim in the picture & that is how I’ve had this drink at restaurants, but I only see ‘salt’ for the rim in both the ingredients and the instructions. Can you please clarify? Thanks!

    We used red salt for the fun visual aspect Regular salt will work perfect for flavor profile! Hope you enjoy Annie!

  • Emily

    What kind of salt is that in the photo? Or is it salt combined with some other flavoring? Excited to try! Thanks!

    Red Salt, so fun isn't it?!

  • KM

    What was used to salt the rim in the picture?

    Red Salt! We did that for the visual aspect, regular salt will work just fine for flavor profile. But if you are feeling fancy and fun go for the red salt!

  • Jenn

    The perfect cocktail! Thank you!

    Thanks Jenn, we love it too!