While in the United States the most popular tequila cocktail is undoubtedly the margarita, south of the border it’s this easier-to-make grapefruit soda-and-tequila cocktail: the classic Paloma.
There are multiple claims as to who invented the classic Paloma cocktail, but the most probable situation is that as soda got more popular people used it as a mixer for alcohol, and eventually grapefruit soda and tequila met in a glass. Regardless it is — sin duda — the cocktail we’ve encountered most as we’ve traveled around Mexico. It’s pretty much available at any restaurant or bar — even if you don’t see it on the menu they can usually still make it for you!
And, while the origin of the name is just as much of a guess as to the drink’s origin, it’s commonly believed the Paloma is named after a classic Mexican folk song name, you guessed it, La Paloma.
Tips For Making A Classic Paloma Cocktail
Okay, time to get down to details!
Don’t Skip The Salt
First, don’t forget the lime juice and salt because they take it from being a glass of tequila cut with soda to an actual cocktail — those two simple additions make it more balanced so it’s not too sweet or boozy. And, we fully believe that even the fiercest of hot salsas are tamed when you take a sip of a Paloma so we almost always order the cocktail when we’re going for a particularly spicy meal.
Choose Your Grapefruit Flavor
As for the grapefruit soda, the go-to in Mexico is Squirt. But you could use any grapefruit soda you can find be it Squirt, Fresca, grapefruit-flavored Jarritos, a Ruby Red grapefruit soda, an Italian soda, or even freshly-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice. Just know that grapefruit soda varies widely with some being more sour others really sweet and others still barely effervescent. All the more reason to find your favorite one and alter the recipe to your preferences.
Finally, feel free to mix up the measurements below to your personal preference. If you want it less sour, lower the lime juice. If you have especially sweet grapefruit soda, add more lime and salt. And, if you really like salt, feel free to rim the glass with it!
Classic Paloma Cocktail Recipe
- 2 ounces 100% agave silver tequila
- 1/8 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4 ounces Grapefruit Soda
- Pinch of sea salt
- ice cubes
- Make The Paloma Cocktail: Fill a highball or Tom Collins glass with ice (we like it crushed but cubes work too!) then add the tequila, lime juice, soda, and a pinch of salt. Stir briefly then serve!