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This classic Paloma recipe features all of the natural flavors you want and none of the extra frills you don’t. Tequila and grapefruit really shine in this Mexican cocktail recipe that’s made with just 5 inexpensive ingredients! Serve it on a hot day to stay cool this summer.

grapefruit slices are placed next to palomas

Let’s face it – most fruity summer cocktails are super sweet. While I do enjoy a good cocktail on the sweeter side, sometimes I want to cool off with something a little more neutral… or even bitter. But still refreshing! That’s where this classic Paloma recipe comes in to save the day. It’s got a nice fruity flavor from the grapefruit and lime, but it’s not super sweet like so many others.

With that being said, there is some sugar in the mix to keep it from being too bitter. There’s also a splash of seltzer to give the drink a little bubbly element! The nice thing is, since you’re making this cocktail at home (and not over paying at a bar), you can alter your drink however you’d like. Make it sweeter, fruitier, or even a double, all without fearing you’re annoying a bartender with your requests!

Why You’ll Love This

I love this easy paloma recipe for a million reasons…we’ll keep it short and sweet. Here are three of them!

  • So refreshing. The grapefruit juice, lime juice, and seltzer really come together beautifully over ice to create the best refreshing flavor. It’s perfect for sipping on when the sun’s out and you’re craving a cool cocktail.
  • Great for tequila lovers. The ingredients here are measured pretty perfectly so that the tequila taste is tamed without being totally disguised. If you have a good bottle of tequila on hand, this is the best recipe to use it for! The fruit flavors compliment the liquor without overpowering it entirely.
  • Quick and easy. When you’re hosting friends at your home, the last thing you want to do is find yourself stuck in the kitchen or behind the bar. Be the host with the most AND still able to mingle when you make a paloma in 5 minutes or less!
the ingredients for a paloma are placed on a white surface

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make this paloma recipe. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.

  • White granulated sugar
  • Lime juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Tequila
  • Ice
  • Lime wedges
  • Seltzer or sparkling water

How To Make a Paloma

Muddle. In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the lime juice and sugar. This helps to make the sugar more of a liquid and less granulated, so you won’t be sipping on too many crunchy sugar crystals.

Shake. Pour in the tequila and grapefruit juice. Add ice and shake vigorously for a few seconds to combine everything.

Pour and enjoy! Pour the paloma into a glass, top with seltzer and lime wedges and serve immediately. You can either use the ice from the shaker (usually referred to as “dirty ice”) or use fresh ice in the glass. Cheers!

a garnished paloma is placed by itself on a board

Recipe Tips, Substitutions, and Variations

Enjoy the best grapefruit paloma after you read over these quick notes!

  • Don’t shake the seltzer. When you shake a carbonated beverage, it goes flat. Make sure you keep those bubbles sparkling by pouring in the seltzer only after the rest of the ingredients have been shaken and poured into the glass.
  • Use fresh lime juice. This is so important! Yes, you can technically use lime juice that comes in a little plastic bottle… But you’ll have a more artificial taste with less acidity. Freshly squeezed lime juice is really the only way to go!
  • Be picky with your tequila. When it comes to liquor, it pays to be picky. Keep in mind that your cocktail will only ever be as good as the liquor you choose to make it with! A solid middle of the road tequila is perfect for this cocktail recipe.
  • Add more or less sugar. I think that just 1 teaspoon of sugar is perfect for this recipe that yields two palomas. You can do a taste test and alter the sweetness as you see fit. If you think the drink is too sweet, just shake in a little extra lime and/or grapefruit juice.
  • Can’t have grapefruit or don’t like it? No problem! Pineapple Paloma is another version you can try!

Storage Instructions

A paloma cocktail is best served immediately. If you do make it ahead of time, don’t add the seltzer or sparkling water until you’re ready to serve it. Keep the paloma (without seltzer) in glass jar in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

two palomas are placed on a wooden cutting board

Sip On the Best Summer Cocktails

Enjoy more of the best, fresh and fruity cocktails! The best part? They’re all wonderfully easy to make in just a few minutes.

a garnished paloma is placed by itself on a board


Tequila and grapefruit really shine in this Mexican cocktail recipe that's made with just 5 inexpensive ingredients! Serve it on a hot day to stay cool this summer.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 drinks
Author: Julie Chiou
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  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 cup (237 ml) grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces (57 ml) or more of tequila
  • Ice
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  • Splash of seltzer or sparkling water

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.


  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle together juice of lime and granulated sugar.
  • Add grapefruit juice and tequila.
  • Add a bit of ice, put the top on tightly, and shake!
  • Pour into glasses and top with a splash of bubbly and lime wedges.


Serving: 1 drink (8 ounces) | Calories: 127 kcal | Carbohydrates: 15 g | Protein: 1 g | Fat: 0.1 g | Sodium: 3 mg | Potassium: 192 mg | Fiber: 0.1 g | Sugar: 15 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: drink recipe, easy cocktail, fruit cocktail
Recipe Rating


Sunday 3rd of May 2015

Love the video!

Laura (Tutti Dolci)

Sunday 3rd of May 2015

That color is so pretty, what a refreshing drink!


Saturday 2nd of May 2015

I love both three are so much fun together. Hopefully, you get together for more videos in the future :)

Happy Saturday!


Saturday 2nd of May 2015

Really cute vid!! Love the cocktail!

Gina @ Running to the Kitchen

Friday 1st of May 2015

Come visit us, we need to do another video together because this was so much fun! :)