Paloma Cocktail

We all love a margarita, but if you ask me, this paloma cocktail is just as good! Made with grapefruit and lime juice, it's sweet, sour, and refreshing.

paloma cocktail

When Jack and I lived in Austin, we’d always order paloma cocktails on summer afternoons at Hula Hut. It had a big deck right on Lake Austin, and it was filled with people all summer long. We loved to sit there in the hot sun, sipping our cocktails and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with friends.

Last weekend, the spring sun inspired us to make this paloma recipe at home. With just the two of us, our “scene” looked a bit different than our Hula Hut days, but we still had fun mixing up our drinks together. In fact, we’re already looking forward to making this paloma recipe again tomorrow. It’s really simple, and it’s a fresh alternative to other tequila drinks (looking at you, margarita). If you’re looking for a fun way to kick off the weekend, I hope you give it a try!

Paloma recipe ingredients

Paloma Cocktail Ingredients

A traditional paloma cocktail consists of tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. My recipe is a fresher version of this classic combination. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Tequila – Use any good-quality blanco tequila in this recipe. We like this brand, but feel free to use your favorite!
  • Grapefruit juice and club soda – I swap the traditional grapefruit soda for a mix of grapefruit juice and sparkling water. For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice!
  • Lime juice – Along with the grapefruit juice, it makes this drink deliciously tart.
  • Agave nectar or simple syrup – Because I don’t use soda in this recipe, I balance the sour/tart flavor of the grapefruit and lime with something sweet. I call for a small amount of agave or simple syrup, but don’t hesitate to add more to taste.
  • Salt – For the rim of your glass! I like to use coarse sea salt, but kosher salt would work here too.
  • Ice – A paloma cocktail is always better on the rocks!

Rub the rim of a highball glass or margarita glass with a grapefruit wedge, and dip it in a small plate of salt. Add the tequila, grapefruit juice, sparkling water, lime juice, and sweetener to the glass, stir to combine, and add ice to fill the glass. Sweeten to taste, and garnish with a grapefruit or lime wedge. Enjoy!

Find the full recipe with measurements below.

paloma drink

Paloma Recipe Tips

  • Taste and adjust. Whenever you make a cocktail at home, taste and adjust to find a balance of flavors you love. If you prefer a sweeter paloma, add an extra splash of agave or simple syrup. For more tartness, squeeze in extra lime. Have fun making it the way you like it!
  • If it’s too strong, let the ice begin to melt. If your paloma tastes too strong when you first try it, let it sit for a few minutes at room temperature. As the ice melts, it will dilute the drink. If it’s still stiffer than you’d like it to be, top your glass with more sparkling water.
  • Change it up! I love this recipe as written, but it’s also delicious with mezcal. If you try this variation, you might want to add additional sweetener, to taste, to balance the smoky flavor. This paloma cocktail is also fantastic with some heat! To make it spicy, drop a few jalapeño slices into the tequila and let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before you make your drink.


More Favorite Cocktail Recipes

If you love this paloma recipe, try one of these cocktails next:


rate this recipe:
4.99 from 54 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Serves 1
This easy paloma recipe is perfect for Cinco de Mayo, happy hour, or anytime you're craving a fun drink! After you mix it together, taste and adjust your cocktail to find a balance of flavors you love.


  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice, plus wedges for garnish
  • 2 ounces sparkling water
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar or simple syrup, or to taste
  • Coarse sea salt, for the rim of the glasses
  • Ice


  • Salt the rim of the glass by rubbing a grapefruit wedge around the edge and dipping it onto a small plate of salt.
  • Mix the tequila, grapefruit juice, sparkling water, lime juice, and agave nectar into the glass. Fill the remainder of the glass with ice. Adjust sweetness to taste. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Jeff

    4 stars
    This cocktail needs to be shaken with ice otherwise it’s flat. Shake with ice, pour into glass and then add soda water. Use less ice or serve without, it will already be chilled and diluted from the shaking with ice.

  2. Caroline

    How can we make this for a crowd of 20? We’d like to have in premixed for our party.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Caroline, you can multiply the recipe, mix it in a pitcher and serve it in glasses over ice. I hope you enjoy!

  3. RIchard Mears

    Drinking it now, tastes the same as I had at Gordon Ramsey restaurant in AC

  4. Michelle

    5 stars
    I am sooooooo addicted to these!!!! They are the PERFECT summertime drink. So refreshing and with just the right amount of tartness and sweetness. I’m a lightweight, so I do only 1oz of tequila per drink, but I make them as written for my hubby (Paloma’s are his favorite cocktail) and he loves them. Such a great recipe!

  5. Lisa

    5 stars
    This drink is sooo good! I usually have to tweak a recipe before I like it but not with this one – it’s perfect!! I use sparkling Pink Grapefruit water to top it off and it really sends it over the top! Thanks!

  6. kelly

    I wasn’t planning on making simple syrup (no sugar in the house) and don’t have Agave….think honey would work??

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yep, I would do that in a pinch! Just sweeten to taste.

    • Liz Jauriqui

      5 stars
      Thank you so much for this recipe! This is simple,tasty and oh so refreshing! I have been wanting to make a paloma without squirt. I don’t like my drinks that sweet. The only thing I did different was put a spicy tajin rim. But I like a little spice. Next time I would like to do half tequila half mezcal.#teammezcal

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Sarah

    5 stars
    My husband and I each had a paloma to celebrate the end of a tiring week. Absolutely delicious! I halved the alcohol in mine and liked it better that way.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sarah, I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  8. Kathy Ross

    Very tasty and we loved it. Thanks a lot for sharing this refreshing recipe.

    My husband loved its spicy flavor so much but I love sweeter Paloma. He daily asks me for making this Recipe. Now it’s our regular drinks.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you both love it!

  9. Katherine

    5 stars
    So good and refreshing! Thank you! So many drinks are too sugary. This is perfect. The only tweak I made was to muddle a blackberry to give it a touch of color without changing the taste too much,

  10. Nicole Arnold

    5 stars
    Love the recipe. My favorite part is the ability to adjust the sweetness as needed. Palomas are my new favorite. I thought tequila would never make it back into my life. 😀

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  11. Yvon

    5 stars
    My new favorite drink!!

  12. Dan

    5 stars
    This was my first time making chicken satay, and I have to say I picked a winner. Three chicken breasts, all gone with 2 girls and me. Amazing. I added a bit more of the chili to the sauce as it wasn’t quite spicy enough without it for us (wife cooks spicy a lot), but still delish and great pairing. Also, younger daughter doesn’t really like peanut butter but scarfed the sauce right up. Definitely making it again this summer.

    • Dan

      5 stars
      Oh gosh—wrong post! But only because I made this cocktail 5 times and have it open all the time. I use mezcal, add a bit of OJ as well.

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Ha ha, well I’m glad you’ve been loving the paloma so much! 🙂

  13. Sam McArthur

    Oh my, I was looking around for ways to make use of a big bag of limes my friend gave me. And this is it…Palomas! Can’t agree more that fresh juice makes all the difference. Thanks, you’ve made my day.

  14. sabrina from

    what a wonderful cocktail, tequila is great in a cocktail, not straight! Nice flavors too with agave and grapefruit plus lime, very well balanced, thank you!

  15. Dennis Yannakos

    5 stars
    Such an interesting combination! So good!

  16. e.

    I love Palomas!! I am stocked with fresh grapefruits and limes and tequila (and mezcal!!) but my only club soda is lemon/lime seltzer. Would you alter the recipe at all for that? Maybe add a dash of salt and taste before adding the lime?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yep, I’d just taste before adding the lime – I think it’ll be totally fine! If it’s too tart, you can adjust the amount of sweetener. I’d keep the salt for the rim of the glass.

  17. Laura

    5 stars
    Love Hula Hut! I live about 10 minutes from it 🙂 Fabulous recipe and a perfect way to celebrate 5 o’clock today (and tomorrow, etc).

    I bought Love and Lemons Every Day a couple months ago and love it and your site. No pressure, but my survival pretty much depends on you now. Favorite recipes from the book are the veggie balls, rutabaga pasta, almond crackers, and labneh (which works with coconut yogurt).

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hahaha, I’m so glad you’re loving the book! We used to almost be neighbors 🙂

      • Leslie

        Can you make a low calorie version

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.