10 Playful Paloma Variations for Picture-Perfect Sipping

February 14, 2024 by Anna-Bet Stemmet

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It’s time to take a deep dive into tasty Paloma variations, friends! Listen, we’re not allowed to play favorites with cocktails around here, but the classic Paloma has room for loads of delicious and interesting variations. Needless to say, we adore any iterations of this zesty bestie. Ready to get inspired? Let’s go! 

What’s in a Paloma cocktail?

Two Grapefruit Margaritas

The traditional Paloma cocktail is a citrus-forward drink that combines the vibrant flavors of tequila, grapefruit soda, lime juice, and a touch of salt. Typically made with blanco or reposado tequila, this cocktail offers a perfect balance of tantalizing tartness and subtle sweetness. The tangy grapefruit pairs harmoniously with the tequila’s earthy notes, while the lime juice adds a bright acidity to the mix. 

FUN FACT! The origin of the classic Paloma recipe is believed to lie along the cobbled streets of historic Mexico. While its exact origins are somewhat unclear, the Paloma is thought to have emerged in the mid-20th century as a popular alternative to the Margarita, another iconic Mexican cocktail. 

1. Traditional Paloma recipe

Close front view of a trio of refreshing pink paloma cocktails with grapefruit garnish

As is the case with most time-honored cocktails, we appreciate the classics, and this one is no different. Learning how to make a Paloma couldn’t be simpler. With only a few vital components, the Paloma drink ingredients are easy to remember: grapefruit soda, tequila, and lime juice.  

For the best Paloma cocktail, you want the best tequila. We suggest reaching for a bottle of Espolón Tequila Blanco. This unaged tequila is created with 100% Blue Weber agave, delivering a smooth and balanced taste.  

The original Paloma recipe calls for grapefruit soda, which can be a little on the sweet side for some. If you prefer a drink that’s more tart than sweet, we suggest swapping out the grapefruit soda for fresh grapefruit juice, a kiss of simple syrup, and club soda. 

More inspiration: 12 Easy Grapefruit Cocktails Recipe to Try 

2. Spiced Cranberry Paloma

Two Spiced Cranberry Paloma cocktails

If there’s one staple that everyone has in their pantry over the festive season, then it’s got to be cranberry sauce. And while it’s something you’d expect to see drizzled over a festive roast, you can use the leftover sauce and combine it with a touch of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge to give your Spiced Cranberry Paloma a holiday twist. 

3. Pineapple Paloma

Three Pineapple Paloma variation cocktails on a golden tray with a pineapple in the background

What is a Paloma, if not an excuse to sip a little bit of paradise? This pineapple-tinged version is a complete treat. To make a Pineapple Paloma, combine 2 oz tequila, 4 oz fresh pineapple juice, and 1 oz lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until frosty, strain into a serving glass over ice, garnish with a wedge of pineapple on the rim, and enjoy. 

More tropical treats: 9 Pineapple and Tequila Cocktails for a Taste of Paradise 

4. Pomegranate Rosé Paloma

Three Pomegranate Rose Paloma variation cocktails served in a Mexican setting

This Paloma fizz is fringed with captivating pomegranate flavors, and the taste of this classy clinker is going hit all the right spots. To make a Pomegranate Rosé Paloma, start by filling a wine glass with ice. Pour 0.75 oz pomegranate juice over the ice, followed by 3 oz premium grapefruit soda. Add 4 oz sparkling rosé wine to the glass. Gently stir the ingredients to combine. Garnish your Paloma spritzer with a slice of grapefruit and a sprig of fresh mint or rosemary. 

Love the pom? 12 Pomegranate Cocktails to Master at Home 

5. Spicy Paloma

Two Spicy Paloma Cocktail variations served at a beach café

This Paloma riff is the ideal option for the spice lovers and heat-seekers out there. To make a Spicy Paloma, you follow the OG recipe and add a measure of easy-to-make jalapeño simple syrup. Half an ounce should do the trick, but you can also measure with your heart. It’s got quite a kick, so sip our sunny cocktail slowly and pair it with fish tacos or spicy BBQ wings for a perfect match! 

¡Salud! 13 Best Mexican Cocktails to Make at Home 

6. Ginger Beer Paloma

Two fizzy Ginger Beer Paloma variation cocktails with grapefruit garnish

A Ginger Beer Paloma is a perfect cool-down cocktail to serve at Cinco de Mayo celebrations, Dia de los Muertos parties, or any other Mexican-inspired evening. Simply omit the club soda from the original Paloma recipe and add another layer of zing with ginger beer. Home-made ginger beer will always be the best choice, but a good quality store-bought bottle is fine as well. 

Read next: Ginger Beer Cocktails 

7. Mezcal Paloma

A tray of Mezcal Paloma variations served on a tray with fresh lemon wheel garnish

While tequila is made from the sugars of steamed agave plants (above ground), mezcal is made from the sugars of agave plants that have been roasted in wood-fired pits. This is what gives the spirit its unique smoky flavor.   

To make a Mezcal Paloma, rim a chilled glass with coarse salt, add ice, and stir in tequila, mezcal, simple syrup, fresh lime, and grapefruit juice. Top your mezcal cocktail with soda water and garnish with a slice of grapefruit or lime. Serve these sweet and tangy smoky cocktails this summer for something a little different.   

You might also like: The Difference between Mezcal and Tequila Explained 

8. Paloma Mocktail

Two Virgin Palomas served in a garden setting

Filled with zesty notes of fresh ruby grapefruit juice and lime, this Paloma Mocktail is super simple to assemble; simply add some club soda and ice and play with the ratio of the ingredients until it strikes your fancy. Add a dash of simple syrup or agave syrup if you want it a little sweeter.  

Sober curious? Turn your Favorite Cocktail into a Mocktail 

9. Rum Paloma

Two Rum Paloma variations served with brightly colored citrus on a tray

While the go-to Paloma liquor will always be tequila, you can swap it out with rum to create a Rum Paloma. For a more island-style approach, we suggest a white Jamaican rum like Wray & Nephew Overproof. Simply swap out the liquor base (1.5 oz white rum instead of 1.5 oz tequila), and you’ll instantly nudge the Paloma into a tasty new tropical territory.  

Read next: The Ultimate List of 2-Ingredient Rum Drinks 

10. Italian Paloma

Two Italian Paloma cocktails on a table outside on a sunny day

If you are all about the aperitivo moment, the Italian Paloma is bound to blow your socks right off. This molto bello variation on the classic is a wonderful aperitivo hour addition.  

To make one, add 0.75 oz Campari, 0.75 oz fresh grapefruit juice, 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice, 0.5 oz fresh lime juice, and 0.5 oz agave nectar to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until frosty, add 2 oz of chilled Italian orange soda, and strain into a tall serving glass over fresh ice. Add a pinch of salt, and garnish with a grapefruit twist for some extra pizzazz. 

How delicious do these Paloma variations sound? We look forward to seeing which one of our tasty recipes you shake up first! Remember to tag us in your Instagram pics. In the meantime, you can also subscribe to our newsletter to get more of our zesty besties delivered straight to your inbox.  


The Greyhound is a simple mix of vodka and grapefruit juice, offering a straightforward and refreshing option similar to the Paloma's citrusy profile.

The Paloma derives its name from the Spanish word for ‘dove’. Its origins are unclear, but it's believed to have emerged in Mexico, possibly named after the popular folk song ‘La Paloma’.

In a Paloma cocktail, the primary liquor used is tequila. Traditionally, either blanco or reposado tequila is used, although some variations may incorporate other types of tequila as well.

While both the Paloma and Margarita feature tequila as a base spirit, the traditional Paloma typically includes grapefruit soda and lime juice, while the Margarita is made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier).

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