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The Paloma: A Simple Twist on a Margarita

love a good margarita. On a hot day, it's nice and refreshing; on a cold and yucky day, it can help me forget that it's cold and yucky. As I've gotten older, though, I can't tolerate super-sweet margaritas, especially ones that are made with a pre-fab mix.

So when I read in a food magazine about the Paloma being like a "less sweet margarita with bubbles," and saw that it only required three ingredients, I was intrigued.

Here's the easiest, best Paloma recipe!


Related recipe: Peach Vodka Iced Tea Cocktail

What's in a paloma?

It's similar to a margarita in that it contains tequila and fresh lime juice, but it gets its sweetness from Italian grapefruit soda instead of triple sec or cointreau.

When I first tasted it, I was pleasantly surprised by 1) how delicious it was, and 2) how subtle the grapefruit flavor was. It really did taste just like a less sweet, bubbly margarita.

If you like margaritas, you will love palomas. Combine tequila, italian soda, and fresh lime juice.

Related recipe: Hibiscus Lemonade

How to make a paloma:

  1. Rim a glass with salt (optional)
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add about a shot of tequila.
  3. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime.
  4. Top off with Italian grapefruit soda.

That's it! Gently stir, taste and adjust to your liking. If it's not sweet enough, just add more soda. If it's too sweet for you, you could try cutting it with some club soda or sparkling water. Since each drink is made individually you can play around with the ingredients until you find your ideal balance.


You can also try experimenting with different flavors of Italian soda. I was going to attempt a version with pomegranate Italian soda over the holidays, but I never got around to it. If anybody does try a different flavor, please comment with your results!

Paloma Cocktail

A paloma cocktail is like a light, bubbly, mildly grapefruity version of a margarita
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: cocktail
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 180kcal
Author: Kate


  • ½ lime
  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • ¾ cup Italian grapefruit soda
  • ½ cup club soda optional


  • Fill a glass with ice. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lime over the ice. Add a shot of tequila and top off with grapefruit soda. (If you prefer it less sweet, top off with a blend of grapefruit soda and club soda or sparkling water).


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Sodium: 68mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin C: 9.7mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 0.2mg
4.86 from 7 votes (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating

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Luck E

Saturday 15th of May 2021

This is so refreshing!!!!! I used sparkling water (not realizing it wasn't soda haha) Made one for the hubby also. He enjoyed it as well!!! I did add a little simple syrup to cut the tartness a bit. Our new summer drink :) PS it was Hibiscus flavored <3


Friday 13th of September 2019

Wow, this sounds super delicious! I'm a tequila fan and think this will be a new favorite.


Friday 13th of September 2019

It's like a delicious bubbly margarita! Definitely adding this to my cocktail list for upcoming parties!


Friday 13th of September 2019

What a delicious, refreshing cocktail! I'm always down with grapefruit and am so glad it has become so popular through drinks like the Paloma...thanks for sharing :)

Beth Neels

Friday 13th of September 2019

This is such a glorious cocktail hour addition! I love the fact that it is less sweet. The sugar gives me a headache! Yummy recipe!

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