Refreshing  Mexican Cocktail – Paloma Cocktail Recipe 

This light and thirst-quenching Mexican cocktail is the ultimate recipe to add to your Cinco de Mayo cocktail menu to aid your celebrations of this Mexican holiday or any warm spring or summer’s day. Plus, this is one of the easiest cocktail recipes as it only uses three core ingredients, leaving you more time to splash in the pool and enjoy the sun. So grab your Barillio cocktail kit and shake up this easy Paloma cocktail recipe to cool you down when it’s extra caliente. 

Refreshing  Mexican Cocktail – Paloma Cocktail

Mexican Cocktail – Paloma Cocktail Ingredients and Kit:

  • Lime juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Tequila
  • Fresh lemon 
  • Sparkling water (aka seltzer or soda water)
  • Salt 
  • Ice 
  • Fresh grapefruit slice (optional)
  • Barillio bartender kit including a jigger, shaker, and small plate
  • Highball or margarita glasses
Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

What is a Paloma Cocktail, and How Does it Taste? 

The Paloma cocktail likely got its name from the Spanish for grapefruit, pomelo, which then became la paloma, meaning dove in Spanish. The Paloma is an easy drink to whip up at home as it uses minimal ingredients while packing a punch. Enjoy this grapefruit cocktail on any Mexican or Spanish holiday (or just any holiday! Why limit yourself?). 

You’ve probably had or at least heard of the Mexican marvel, the Margarita; a cocktail made with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice, served with a salt-rimmed glass. Made with tequila and lime juice, you can think of the Paloma as the older sister to the Margarita. However, the Paloma is on the dry and sour side as it uses grapefruit juice as the main non-alcoholic ingredient. 

Refreshing Mexican Cocktail – Paloma Cocktail Recipe


  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz grapefruit juice
  • 3 oz tequila
  • ½ fresh lemon
  • Sparkling water (to taste)
  • Coarse sea salt 
  • Ice
  • Garnish: slice of fresh grapefruit (optional)


  • Pour your lime juice, grapefruit juice, and tequila of choice into your Barillio shaker.
  • Rim your glass with lemon by running a lemon wedge around the lip of the glass. Then holding the bottom of the glass, roll the lip of the glass in a dish of salt so the salt crystals stick to the glass (similar to how you would rim a glass with salt before serving a mojito).
  • Add the lid to your shaker and shake well for 5-10 seconds.
  • Add ice to your glass and pour in your cocktail. Top with sparkling water (to taste).
  • Optional: garnish with a slice of fresh grapefruit or lime.

Paloma Cocktail Recipe

Top Tips for Shaking Up this Paloma Cocktail Recipe 

  1. Adjust the sweetness to your taste: grapefruit juice can be a tad tart for some people’s tastes, so feel free to add ¼ ounce clear runny honey, light agave nectar (vegan alternative to honey), or other simple sugar syrup to bump up the sweetness in this cocktail. Alternatively, top your Paloma cocktail with club soda instead of sparkling water (seltzer). Cuba soda contains additional minerals, which give this sparkling ingredient a slightly salty and sweet flavor. 
  2. Adjust the tartness to your taste: on the other hand, you may gravitate towards this Paloma recipe for the tart flavor in the drink! To enhance the tartness in this cocktail, add an extra squeeze of lime or fresh grapefruit juice. 
  3. Strength of alcohol: the Paloma cocktail is on the stronger side, so if you struggle with high-alcohol content cocktails, simply reduce the tequila used, add more sparkling water, or wait for your ice to melt and dilute the drink. 
  4. Experiment with additional ingredients: Add a sprig of fresh thyme to the shaker and remove before pouring out to add an earthy touch that compliments the grapefruit beautifully. 

Other Summer Cocktail Recipes 

Tailor your summer cocktail menu for a pool party or summer gathering. Here are some more ideas for refreshing cocktails best enjoyed in the warmer months: 

  • Tequila Sunrise: nothing says the dark, cold days of winter are behind better than a tequila sunrise. This firey-color cocktail is a great option on your home cocktail menu alongside the Paloma, as you can switch between the two without mixing alcoholic ingredients throughout the night (and into the early morning!). 
  • Cosmopolitan: tequila isn’t for everyone, but most people can get on board with a cheeky cosmo with vodka, triple sec, lime, and cranberry juice. 
  • Blue Lagoon: travel back to the 80s with this refreshing Blue Lagoon when big hair and flares were standard attire, and booze and head-pounding music was a must-have for any night out or summer house party. 


How much alcohol is in a Paloma? 

This Palona recipe uses 3 oz tequila, equivalent to about two shots. 

A regular drink usually only contains 1-2 oz of distilled spirits (such as gin, tequila, vodka), so this Paloma cocktail recipe is on the boozier side, so please drink responsibly. 

If you want to reduce the alcohol content in this drink, the Ritual Tequila Alternative is a great option. It will add the sensation and fiery flavor of tequila without alcohol. You can also use the Ritual alternative in cocktail recipes like the Tequila Sunrise

What type of salt should you use to rim the glass? 

Our bartending professionals recommend using coarse sea salt to rim your glass, as the coarse salt crystals won’t clump together or dissolve into the lemon juice too quickly. However, celery salt or coarse kosher salt also works well to rim your Paloma glass with salt. 

Sparkling water vs. club soda 

Although club soda and sparkling water/seltzer are both carbonated drinks, they taste markedly different in cocktails. The main difference comes from the additional minerals in club soda, which add a salty and sweet taste to the beverage. In contrast, sparkling water has a neutral flavor and is used to dilute and add a carbonated edge to mixed drinks. 


Just when you thought you couldn’t outdo last year’s Cinco de Mayo, along came the Paloma cocktail. This cocktail is a Mexican mixed drink created with tart grapefruit juice, smooth and fruity tequila, and sour lime juice. It is a refreshing and easy-to-make drink that is perfect for warm weather. Salud! 

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