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Paloma Cocktail Recipe

Each summer, my husband and I choose a "signature" cocktail and try different recipes until we've hit upon the perfect formula. This summer, it's the Paloma.

My husband retired from the Navy in 2015 and we packed up our household belongings, chickens, ducks, our corgi Winston, our German Shepherd Bella, and our cat Linus, and moved to a farm in Maine.

Every summer since, we've chosen a "signature" cocktail and recipe tested as many recipes as we can find, tweaking them until we stumble upon the perfect recipe. Then we happily sip as we sit on our porch enjoying our beautiful Maine summers. 

We've done Mojitos and Moscow Mules, and Maple Whiskey Sours (this one was so good and even calls for an eggwhite, so I included it in my cookbook!). We've done Martharitas and Tequila Sunrises... and even the interestingly named Suffering Bastard. 

This summer is the summer of the Paloma. Not only did I try a few recipes I found online, I taste-tested several Palomas during my recent trip to New York City. 

I even got a recommendation from my publicist. She swears that the Strait Paloma they make at Perry's Steakhouse in Illinois is the winner. 

What is a Paloma cocktail?

Similar to a Margarita, a Paloma is Mexican tequila-based cocktail that calls grapefruit juice instead of lime juice. Many recipes include grapefruit soda - but honestly, who has that around on a regular basis?

I had never even heard of grapefruit soda until recently (I'm looking at you, Betty Buzz Sparkling Grapefruit!)

Incidentally, "paloma" means dove in Spanish. So, not a chicken, but close enough that I figured I could share the recipe here for you all! 

Anyway, since the whole point of our annual cocktail is to be able to throw happy hours on a whim, I did take some liberties with the traditional recipe.

I decided to eliminate the grapefruit soda (although feel free to add a splash if you wish!), but ultimately it's still a refreshing tequila/grapefruit-forward cocktail without it. 

And if you want to make a mocktail instead, simply leave out the tequila and add an extra splash or two of the sparkling water or grapefruit soda.

After much measuring and shaking and experimenting, I believe I have come up with the perfect Paloma recipe. If you like tart/sweet and are looking for a super refreshing summer cocktail, you've come to the right place.


Paloma Cocktail Recipe


Makes 1 cocktail.

2 ounces of blanco tequila  (I used Casamigos)
3 ounces pink grapefruit juice*
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup**
Splash of sparkling water, club soda, or grapefruit soda, optional
Sugar for rim, optional
Orange slice for garnish
Fresh mint or basil leaf for garnish

Sugar the rim of a lowball or rocks glass, if desired. 

Shake the tequila, juices, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice until chilled.

Strain over ice in a glass, add a splash of soda and garnish with the orange slice and fresh sprig of mint or basil.


How to Sugar the Rim of your Glass

A sugared glass rim is optional, as is a sprig of fresh something... mint, basil, etc. To sugar the rim of the glass, pour some sugar onto a shallow plate. 

Rub the orange slice along the top rim of the glass, then dip it into the sugar and roll the glass to cover the whole rim in sugar. Set aside to dry as you make the cocktails.



*Note: Fresh squeezed or store bought in the bottle is fine for the grapefruit juice. The whole point of a happy hour is to relax and sip an excellent cocktail, not to be squeezing citrus all afternoon. The lime juice should be fresh, though, I mean it's only half a lime...

**Note: Simple syrup is equal parts granulated sugar and water heated and stirred just until the sugar dissolves, then cooled to room temperature. Any excess can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks and should be discarded when it turns cloudy.




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