The Perfect Paloma


Palomas are the perfect summer drink - ice cold, citrusy, and boozy. 

Not long ago, we hosted a taco night for our friend’s birthday. I wanted to make palomas for a change, so I looked up a basic recipe online and gave it a shot. They were okay, but were a little underwhelming. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew I wanted to try to come up with something better before our next taco night. I like my drinks more on the boozy side, and every recipe I found was way too watered down and left much to be desired. We drink really good tequila in our house, so I wanted to come up with a paloma that had that sweet, refreshing grapefruit taste, while still highlighting the tequila. 

On that note - we are obsessed with Esplolon Reposado tequila - it’s the best bang for your buck and it is DELICIOUS. You can usually pick up a bottle for $20-$25 depending on where you go. This tequila sits in oak barrels for 3-5 months, giving it a more rich and complex flavor. Trust me - you need to try it. I’m usually more of a whiskey girl, but my husband LOVES making margaritas. Last summer he brought home this gem that the guy at the liquor store recommended, and we’ve been hooked ever since.

We were supposed to be at the beach week before last for our one-year anniversary, but Tropical Storm Alberta decided to wreak havoc on our plans. We decided to postpone going to the beach until later this summer, and enjoy a staycation instead. I figured this was as great a time as any to do a bunch of recipe testing to find the perfect Paloma, since we were going to be mostly hanging out indoors anyway. My husband was immediately on board, so we made a day of it! (You can only drink so much tequila at once without just napping all day.) 

We tried all kinds of different ingredients and combinations - ranging from using freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to grapefruit soda to ruby red grapefruit juice, to club soda verses our new favorite pairing with tequila - tonic water! We quickly found that the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice was a little too bitter without adding a ton of sugar to the mix - and I wasn’t loving how pulpy it was. That’s when we decided to try ruby red grapefruit juice and tried adding tonic water instead of club soda to add the sweetness it needed. This combo added just the right sweetness, and it got rid of the bitterness and the pulp! This was a game changer, and we knew we were getting close. But in the process, we’d lost that crisp soda taste that makes a paloma so refreshing. We tried adding a splash of club soda to the mix, and voila! Perfection. Mission accomplished. 

I’m so excited to have a new “go to” drink for taco nights and summer festivities! Try it for yourself, and let me know what you think




3oz. Espolon Reposado Tequila

2oz. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

2oz. Tonic Water

1oz. Club Soda

1/4 of a lime (juiced) 

Coarse salt


Salt the rim of a tumbler or glass using a lime wedge to wet the rim, and lightly pressing it down into a bed of coarse salt. Shake off any excess salt. Add ice to the glass, then add the tequila, ruby red grapefruit juice (we used Trader Joe’s brand), tonic water, lime juice, and club soda. Stir gently, garnish with a lime or grapefruit wedge, and enjoy!