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Today's cocktail hails from Mexico – Paloma. 

What is it?

More commonly ordered in Mexico than the Margarita, the Paloma is a grapefruit-tequila combo that’s just as refreshing as its lime-based cousin, with the perk of being much easier to make. 


Credit for the Paloma usually goes to Don Javier Delgado Corona, of La Capilla in the town of Tequila, a no-frills cantina that nonetheless lands on many world’s-best-bars lists. Though the charming don Javier passed away in March of this year at age 95, his tradition lives on. There is another vague origin story, related to the 1860s folk song “La Paloma” and then there’s the Salty Chihuahua, a variant of the vodka-based Salty Dog, that’s exactly the same as a Paloma. But let Don Javier have this – he’s earned it. 

You’ll need (serves 1) 

1 lime 
cocktail salt 
2fl oz (60ml) Tequila (preferably blanco
1fl oz (30ml) grapefruit juice 
1fl oz (30ml) club soda
sugar syrup or honey (optional, to taste) 


Step 1: Run a lime wedge lightly around the rim of a tall (Collins) glass and dip into the salt. 
Step 2: Add ice to the glass, then tequila, grapefruit and soda. If the grapefruit is overly sour or bitter, adjust with sugar syrup or honey. 
Step 3: Stir gently and garnish with lime. 

Tasting Notes

The Paloma is simple: grapefruit juice and tequila, over ice in a salt-rimmed glass. Some add club soda; some dispense with the salt; some swap in squirt or another one of Mexico’s all-sugar-sweetened grapefruit sodas. All in all, it’s a drink that’s crisp, a little bitter, a little sweet and a great showcase for the uniquely Mexican flavor of tequila. Sipped in a ceiling-fan-cooled cantina or outside under a shady portal overlooking a plaza, it’s perhaps the most elegant way to get a shot of tequila into your system. This recipe is the “fancy” version – feel free to substitute grapefruit soda, though do try to find a sugar-sweetened one, which gives the drink the proper bite. 

Other recipes: 

Cape Codder

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This article was first published April 2020 and updated July 2020

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