This easy and healthy version of a classic Paloma drink comes together quickly, has a kick with added jalapeño, and is super refreshing in the summer with the addition of grapefruit sparkling water.
Why is it called Paloma?
What is a Paloma? Only the second best tequila cocktail in the world!! That’s totally my opinion but I will say that the Paloma, which means dove in Spanish, is the most loved cocktail in Mexico.
Not the margarita! I’m just as surprised as you are. The dove is most associated with peace and I can tell you that I am totally peaceful after drinking one of these!
The recipe for a classic Paloma is simple, which I think is why I love it so much. You know that I am a sucker for making 3 Ingredient Cocktails.
The only ingredients are
- grapefruit soda
- lime wedge
Occasionally there is a salt rim or a grapefruit garnish involved but not always. This is meant to be a “working man’s” drink so it’s kept simple. This is easier than a margarita and most restaurants in Mexico have tequila and bottles of grapefruit soda on the table with a bowl of cut lime.
What’s easier than that? And you don’t have to wait to order your drink!
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If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
The first question that comes up when talking about making a Paloma cocktail is…
What tequila is best for Palomas drinks?
The best tequila to pair with the tart grapefruit is a blanco or a silver tequila. These have the cleanest and crispiest flavor to pair with the fruit. A Blanco tequila is not aged in barrels so it’s the purest flavor.
Using an Añejo or a Reposado have been aged in oak barrels which adds color and other flavors that will compete with the grapefruit. So I don’t recommend either of these with a Paloma.
What does Paloma taste like?
Jarritos is usually the go-to for the grapefruit soda part of the Paloma because it is from Mexico, but what if you can’t find Jarritos? Fresca is the next best option or maybe Squirt soda, but what if you don’t want SODA?
If you are trying to cut calories you really don’t want a soda, much less a lot of fruit juice because it too has a lot of sugar. I have a better option now.
If you are not into sugary sodas or if you are trying to keep your drinking calories low, I use a grapefruit flavored sparkling water instead! A small amount of grapefruit juice adds in some extra grapefruit flavor along with a touch of sweetness from the natural sugars in the fruit.
I need more water in my life, no calories, and they have great flavors. Including grapefruit! Or Pamplemousse if you love LaCroix like I do.
There are a lot of different grapefruit sparkling water brands in the stores so use your favorite. Feel free to use club soda too.
Don’t forget the salt on the rim! I love a little salt to balance out the tart flavor of the grapefruit.
Just because you like a tart cocktail doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little spice in it too. What goes great with a Mexican cocktail? Jalapeños! Not a ton but just enough.
I take a few slices of fresh jalapeños, be sure to wear gloves when handling them or you will be sorry later, and toss them in the bottom of the glass. Muddle or smash them with a muddler tool or a spoon if you don’t have one a few times to release the spicy juices.
Once the jalapeños are smashed, add the ice, grapefruit juice, and top with sparkling water!
If you don’t have any fresh jalapeño peppers available you can use a spicy simple syrup like my Chili Pepper Simple Syrup that is made with jalapeños and Serrano peppers. It will add a little more sweetness too!
Nothing could be better for highlighting tequila and getting all the spicy, tart, and salty cravings over with one cocktail.
Is Paloma a well drink?
Yes, it is! A well drink is a cocktail that is made with “house” or low cost alcohol and are usually stored in the “well” or counter railing within reach of the bartender. Most, if not all, bars have tequila and grapefruit juice in stock.
My Sparkling Jalapeño Paloma Cocktail is the perfect blend of grapefruit, tequila, and jalapeños and will complete your Cinco de Mayo menu.
Try it as a paloma shot too!
If you love this spicy paloma drink recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!
Other grapefruit and spicy cocktails
- Jalapeño Caipirinha
- Grapefruit Lemonade Crush
- Grapefruit Rosemary Rum Punch
- Grapefruit Shandy
- Spicy Mango Margarita
- Jalapeño Mojito
- Bloody Marianne
Spicy Paloma Cocktail Recipe
- 2 jalapeño slices
- 1 lime wedge
- 0.5 ounce lime juice
- 2 oz tequila (blanco)
- 4 oz grapefruit sparkling water
- 1 oz grapefruit juice
Make the Sparkling Jalapeño Paloma Cocktail
- Rim the glass with lime juice and salt.
- Add the jalapeño slices to a glass.
- Squeeze the lime wedge into the glass.
- Muddle the jalapeño slices in the lime juice.
- Add ice to the glass.
- Pour in the tequila and grapefruit juice into the glass.
- Stir to combine.
- Top with the grapefruit sparkling water.
- Garnish with jalapeño slices.
*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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