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
- Soda water: 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!
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 chili powder to your salt mix
- If you want to try the original: use 4 oz grapefruit soda instead of fresh juice and soda