8+ Paloma Cocktail Variations

8+ Paloma Cocktail Variations

Drinking the same thing over and over gets monotonous. You may be used to just a plain margarita when drinking tequila, but a Paloma is another tequila cocktail that should be on your radar. In fact, there are so many ways to create different flavors with a Paloma cocktail that we don’t think you’ll ever get bored. Dive in and look at these 8 Paloma cocktail variations and their recipes, plus our top ideas to have even more fun with it. 

The Classic Paloma Cocktail 

The Paloma cocktail is traditionally made with tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. You simply have to pour the ingredients over ice and stir to combine. It is a delicious drink that is refreshing and easy to make. 

The Paloma may be the official cocktail of Mexico, but it is widely popular in the United States. Several Paloma variations that stray from the original have been created as well. These are great places to start if you want to mix it up a bit.

Paloma Vs. Margarita

First, let’s clear up the difference between a Paloma and a Margarita. Even though they have similarities, such as both being tequila and citrus-based cocktail, there are some differences, too. Palomas have their iconic grapefruit flavor and are typically only made over ice, while a margarita has a strong lime flavor and can be made frozen or over ice. Additionally, Palomas tend to be less sweet than margaritas. 

Paloma Liquor Variations

Now that we are on the same page, Paloma liquor variations are a great place to start switching up the flavors. The traditional liquor used in a Paloma is Blanco tequila, but swapping it out for others is a Paloma variation that is great if you prefer to drink one liquor over another. 

1. Vida Paloma – Mezcal

by Liqour.com

Vida Paloma - Mezcal

For instance, the Vida Paloma cocktail from the now-closed Fat Baby Tacos in Chicago swaps the tequila out for Mezcal which has an earthier flavor. To make the Vida Paloma, shake up fresh grapefruit juice, Mezcal, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a glass over fresh ice and top with club soda. This one is also typically served with a hot pepper rim that adds quite a bit of spice. 

2. Tito’s Paloma – Vodka

by Tito’s Vodka

Tito's Paloma - Vodka

You can substitute tequila for vodka, like in this Tito’s Paloma recipe. It uses vodka, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sparkling water. Two tips for this one, though– pour the sparkling water in after you shake to keep the bubbles intact and use fresh lime juice. It really does make a difference. We like this one garnished with a nice, juicy grapefruit wheel. 

3. Sunset Rum Paloma – Rum

by Sainsbury’s

Sunset Rum Paloma - Rum

The Sunset Rum Paloma switches out the classic tequila with- you guessed it– rum, and spiced rum, to be specific. Combine spiced rum and pink grapefruit juice, then stir in soda water. Garnish with a lime wedge. Give your drink a squeeze of the lime before taking a sip to balance all the flavors.

Paloma Mixer Variations

In addition to mixing up the liquor in a Paloma, you can also get the tart, refreshing grapefruit flavor with different mixers. 

Many people use grapefruit soda like Squirt or Fresca instead of grapefruit juice to achieve the same flavor but with some carbonation. Soda water, seltzer, club soda, and other neutral carbonated beverages can add bubbles to your Paloma as well. 

Additionally, for those who want extra alcohol content, grapefruit liqueur can be added or substituted for grapefruit juice or grapefruit soda. Adding another citrus, like lemon instead of lime juice is just another way to mix it up. 

If you want the freshest experience, muddle in a whole grapefruit wheel so that you get some of the potent oils from the rind and the fresh grapefruit juice. 

There are a ton of ways to play around with different mixers to achieve the same classic flavor profile. 

Here are a few recipes that have Paloma mixer variations. 

4. Paloma

by Difford’s Guide


The Paloma recipe by Difford’s Guide uses both grapefruit soda and pink grapefruit juice to achieve a traditional Paloma taste. This recipe shows the variety of options that you have for a mixer. 

5. Best Paloma

by Southern Living

Best Paloma

Southern Living uses two different mixers to achieve their fantastic Paloma flavor. They use the traditional grapefruit juice but add Topo Chico to get the carbonation taste similar to grapefruit soda. 

Adding Additional Flavors to Palomas

The best Paloma cocktail variations are those that add additional flavors, like making it spicy, adding extra sweetness with agave nectar or honey, additional fruit or citrus-like blood orange, or herbs. These are some Paloma cocktails that have a little kick or a big punch of flavor to them. Even just adding salt or a salted rim can make a big difference.   

6. Grapefruit Rosemary Paloma

by For the Love of Gourmet

Grapefruit Rosemary Paloma

When designing a cocktail, rosemary isn’t exactly your first thought, but this Grapefruit Rosemary Paloma by For the Love of Gourmet will change that. The rosemary simple syrup that you’ll make with this recipe will elevate the fresh taste and give just a sweet hint without a ton of sugar. Serve in a rocks glass and garnish with fresh rosemary for a heavenly aroma every time you take a sip. 

7. Strawberry Paloma Cocktail

by Gastronom

Strawberry Paloma Cocktail

A splash of fruity flavor works well with a Paloma, too, just like in this Strawberry Paloma Cocktail recipe by Gastronom. For this one, you’ll just need a highball glass with ice and a few ingredients to get a delicious sweet and tart cocktail that takes the Paloma to the next level. 

8. Spicy Paloma

by Sense and Edibility

Spicy Paloma

There are many spicy Paloma variations; however, this Spicy Paloma recipe by Sense and Edibility is by far the best we have ever had. It is stunningly balanced, and while it may take a bit of extra work, it is so worth it. 

Sense and Edibility create the spicy aspect by making a brown sugar jalapeno simple syrup. Simple syrup is usually made with white granulated sugar, but using brown sugar to steep the jalapeno in creates a cool, spicy, caramel flavor that is the bomb!


What can I add to Paloma?

You can add smoky spices, Mezcal, and other types of liquor, herbs, and various citrus juices to your Paloma to change up the flavor profile. 

What’s the difference between a Paloma and a Cantarito?

The main difference between a Palmona and a Cantarito is that a Cantarito has all the ingredients of a Paloma plus additional citrus juices. 

Are Palomas Italian?

The Paloma is the national drink of Mexico, so though Paloma is a popular name in Italian, the cocktail is actually Mexican. 

Bottom Line

Grab a glass with ice and make one of these Paloma drinks that are excellent for sipping at any time. There are a ton of Paloma cocktail variations that will soon become your favorite. Drink up!

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