The Paloma Cocktail

While we love the Margarita in the US; folks in Mexico give favorite cocktail honors to the Paloma Cocktail; a blend of tequila, lime and grapefruit.

The Paloma Cocktail on a Table with a Basket of Lemons and Limes

Despite our American bent for thinking the Margarita is the treasured drink of Mexico, the truth is that the Paloma Cocktail more closely fits that bill. It is a tequila-based cocktail that is served on the rocks and is most commonly prepared by mixing tequila and lime with a Mexican grapefruit-flavored soda called Jarritos.

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Here in the US it’s pretty standard to substitute the Jarritos with either Fresca or Squirt which are soft drinks with grapefruit juice. I’ve also seen options for replacing the grapefruit soda with grapefruit juice and club soda that is mixed with the lime.

The cocktail I had the other night at Pinche Tacos in The Highlands seemed to serve the best of both worlds. Fresh pink grapefruit juice and Squirt were a part of the mix and I honestly think I have found a new best friend.

 The Paloma Cocktail in a Highball Glass Garnished with a Slice of Pink Grapefruit

I was invited to attend a media event this week (two favorites – Kristin Browning-Blas from the Denver Post and Kirk Montgomery from 9 News) at Pinche Tacos for Denver’s Dining Out for Life; an annual event to support Project Angel Heart, a local charity that seeks to provide essential food and nutrition to individuals with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.

For two decades, people in the Denver-metro area have been dining out to support this worthy cause and this year it is expected that an estimated 80,000 Coloradans will help to raise an estimated $340,000 in one day. These funds are raised thanks to the generosity of participating restaurants that donate 25% of their food sales to Project Angel Heart.

The event included a drink of our choice and sampling of some of Pinche’s best tacos. I’m glad I went hungry and thirsty. Their tacos are amazing and if you haven’t been yet, then April 24th would be a great day to plan your first trip.

Or even your 7th. I really loved them but there is no doubt that the offering that made the biggest impression on me was this cocktail; the Paloma. As mentioned, most recipes for a Paloma simply call for grapefruit soda to be added to tequila and lime but with only 1% of the ingredients actually being juice it was nice but I guess for me, less than memorable.

Project Angel Heart

The bartender was gracious enough to share their recipe with me and it seems so simple (and it is) but Pinche didn’t choose to go the either/or route. Instead of using either grapefruit soda or grapefruit juice they combine both and that was the key to sealing my love.

Seriously right now this is my new favorite cocktail. You know I actually write about cocktails more than I imbibe them but true confession? I drank the one I made for the shoot. And then made one more and drank it too. Whoo hoo!!

If you’re in Denver, the list of restaurants is long and includes many in the burbs. No excuses…GO!! For me…I think a return trip to Pinches is in the cards. I’ll take a pitcher of these please with a taco on the side. 🙂

PIN ‘The Paloma Cocktail’

The Paloma Cocktail PIN

The Paloma Cocktail PIN

The Paloma Cocktail

Creative Culinary
5 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 388 kcal


  • 2 oz Blanco tequila
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz agave nectar
  • Chilled Squirt


  • Pink Grapefruit slices quartered


  • Rub lime over side of highball glass; dip in salt. Mix all other ingredients except soda in shaker filled with ice and shake until cold.
  • Pour into ice filled glass; top off with soda and garnish with pink grapefruit slice.


Nutrition Facts
The Paloma Cocktail
Serving Size
1 grams
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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  1. Just wanted to let you know that this is my favorite version of my favorite cocktail. Using juice instead of soda makes it less cloying. Very balanced and delicious!

    1. Thanks Abbe…I think we should plan a blogger time out on the 24th; great tacos PLUS a good cause? Dessert at Voodoo? 🙂

    1. It’s easy and SO good; you must make it. It’s got juice so I see no problem with trying one for breakfast. 🙂

    1. You’re just buttering me up so I make them for you; I know. And I’m good with that! 🙂

  2. Paloma’s ROCK! One of my favorite cocktails. Yum! And I always crack up at the name of that restaurant. Clever! Lol! Sounds like a generous cause.

    1. We should get a group of bloggers together to eat out and help with the cause. Sounds like a win win to me!

  3. Your city, having been such a generous contributor to Project Angel Heart for the past 20 years has very much to be proud of. Restaurants donating 25% of their food sales to this cause is very generous and its wonderful to see that there is so much support and participation. Lovely endeavor and cocktail.

    1. It’s such an easy way to help those who need food isn’t it. Happens in Canada too; maybe we can dine out together in different cities! 🙂

    1. Add it to your cocktail rotation Maureen; you won’t regret it. So easy too. Do you have Squirt or Fresca in Australia?

    1. Maybe someone cussed the kitchen boy? 🙂 Try this one. Absolutely my new favorite. As in again tonight!

    1. It’s wonderful Aly; really a must try if you like a margarita; a bit lighter and fizzier but similar components.

    1. It’s absolutely wonderful; I would suggest you test the amount of agave you use though…I’m going to go change recipe now because I forgot. I might have added a bit less. It’s like anything else; sugar to taste!

  4. Beautiful cocktail, Barb! Pinned. What a worthy cause to support. I’ll click through to see the list of participating restaurants. Thanks!

    1. If nothing else Holly it looks like Anthony’s Pizza is participating but I noticed a lot in your area.

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