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

Want to know the secret to making the best Paloma cocktail? Then you’ve come to the right place. We have a classic Paloma recipe and our usual super crafty tips and tricks to help you up the wow factor without breaking a sweat. Cross the border with us to Mexico to discover this iconic cocktail’s history and learn how to make a Paloma drink like a pro. 




If you don’t like a salted rim, add a pinch of salt straight into your Paloma cocktail instead.


Agave nectar is much sweeter than simple syrup, so use it carefully.


Make this cocktail in pitchers for bigger parties and let your friends help themselves.


Classic color pencil illustration of a Paloma Cocktail


1 Person

2 Oz

60 Ml

2 Parts

Espolón Tequila Blanco  
2 Oz

60 Ml

2 Parts

Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice 
0.5 Oz

15 Ml

0.5 Parts

Freshly squeezed lime juice 
0.25 Oz

7.5 Ml

0.25 Parts

Agave nectar 
1 Oz

30 Ml

1 Parts

Soda water  
Grapefruit wedge for garnish 
Coarse sea salt for garnish  


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Rub a wedge of lime or grapefruit along the rim of a highball glass 


Add the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave nectar


Stir until combined and add ice.  


Top with a splash of soda water and garnish with a wedge of grapefruit

The history of the Paloma cocktail

This epic tequila and grapefruit cooler’s history is a little bit muddled.  The most accepted version is that it was created by highly acclaimed bartender, Don Javier Delgado Corona, at La Capilla — a bar in Tequila, Mexico.  

But that was back in 1950 and today you’ll find plenty of variations of the classic Paloma recipe, with modern twists that add different flavors and results.  

Paloma cocktail ingredients

Like most cocktails, we really appreciate the classics, and this one is no different. Learning how to make a Paloma drink couldn’t be easier. With only two components, the Paloma drink ingredients will be easy to remember: grapefruit soda and tequila. Our recipe adds a few extras to elevate it to a whole new flavor level. Ingredients are always the most important part of any recipe, so let’s chat about those first:  

  • Tequila: this is serious business. 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 perfect for cocktail making
  • Fresh grapefruit: while a classic Paloma recipe calls for grapefruit soda, we prefer freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for extra tartness
  • Club soda: the best Paloma cocktail has got to have some fizz, and for that, you’re going to use a splash of soda water
  • Fresh lime: the bitter sweetness of the grapefruit juice blends beautifully with the zesty lime and will result in a lovely, zingy cocktail
  • Agave nectar: tequila and agave nectar are meant for each other. This infused syrup will add a unique sweetness to your Paloma. If you can’t find any at the store, go ahead and use a simple syrup instead.  

To make your Paloma cocktail extra special, rim a highball glass with salt. Add the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave nectar and give it a gentle stir until everything is combined. Add ice and then top your drink with soda water, giving it one last gentle stir. Garnish with a wedge of fresh grapefruit or lime and enjoy. Told you. Easy!   

More serious tequila business: A Beginners Guide to Tequila

The best Paloma recipe

The Paloma cocktail doesn’t require any bar tools and can be made straight in the glass (or pitcher if you’re entertaining a crowd).  

Recipe tips and tricks

While the Paloma cocktail is one of the best tequila cocktails for beginners, you can take it to the next level with some handy tips and tricks.  

  • If it’s too sweet: add more grapefruit
  • If it’s too sour: add more agave syrup 
  • If it’s too strong: add more soda, or wait for the ice to dilute into the drink
  • If you want some spice: add a pinch of chilli powder to your salt mix
  • If you want to try the original: use 4 oz grapefruit soda instead of fresh juice and soda

You might also like: 12 Easy Grapefruit Cocktails to Try

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To make a traditional Paloma mix together tequila and grapefruit soda.

The best tequila for a Paloma is a Blanco. Or if you want to try something different but equally delicious, use mezcal instead. 

Sweeten your Paloma with either agave nectar or simple syrup. 

The only alcohol in a traditional Paloma is tequila.