The refreshing Paloma: tequila, lime, grapefruit soda. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

The refreshing Paloma: tequila, lime, grapefruit soda. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

This has become my favorite of Donna’s cocktail shots because it so accurately reflects the experience of drinking it. And as she’s on the road, playing hooky from her camera, I’m reposting this perfect summer cocktail. It’s dry and hot here in Clevelandtown, and these are seriously refreshing. Tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. Couldn’t be simpler.

I love Tequila Ocho ReposadoNormally I save the good stuff for straight-up drinking, but it’s worth using in the Paloma because the lime and grapefruit flavors intermingle with and elevate, rather than obscure, the flavor of the tequila. And I make it strong, so I can taste it, goddammit.

Izze is excellent soda (not too sweet, lots of carbonation) and it’s what my grocery store carries. Jarritos is the brand most often recommended. But half grapefruit juice and half soda water works as well.

Have a most excellent weekend, all!

palamo 3 steps @540


  • 3 ounces tequila
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3 ounces grapefruit soda, or to taste
  • 1 wedge of lime for garnish, if you wish
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a beautiful glass filled with ice.
  2. Swirl to combine.
  3. If it’s very hot where you are, pause to consider you are about to indulge yourself with one of the most refreshing cocktails you’ve ever had.


If you liked this post on the Paloma, check out these other links:

© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.



20 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: La Paloma Revisited”

  • JLK

    Where do you find that tequila in Cleveland? It’s one I haven’t seen at my local liquor stores.

  • Bricktop Polford

    Pellegrino makes a nice grapefruit soda too. I am not really a fan of tequila, or is it vice versa?

  • Ivan

    Since you first posted this, it has been one of my summertime favorites. I really like adding an ounce of aperol to it. The extra bittersweet citrus adds a touch of complexity and the color is even more vibrant.

  • Julia

    I concur with everyone recommending San Pellegrino Pompelmo. I don’t like grapefruit otherwise, but in a Paloma it’s extraordinary. Perfect cocktail for hot, muggy weather.

    I use Cazadores Reposado, a tequila I like enough to drink neat. Don’t skimp on the booze. Better is, well, better.

  • Kathy S.

    I have been making this all summer but with prickly pear soda instead of grapefruit. Not sure what you’d actually call that, but it’s super refreshing in our triple-digit Texas summers. (Because someone might ask, the prickly pear soda is Central Market’s own brand and might be exclusive to Texas. Sorry about that.)

  • pete erickson

    being served on the beach now-long day of swimming-finished off by the cooling cocktail. As luck would have a few bottles of Casa Dragons were delivered today! Better replace with Patron or Ocho as the night goes on. Lisa hand juiced the Grapefruit and Faygo Lemon/lime. The beach fire steel griddle is getting ready for mussels, clams and oysters then the finally, shaved beef, pork, and shrimp marinated in lime,adobo, onions, and anything else I found with, all the trimmings. – Via el summer in Traverse City!

  • Victoria

    We started making this regularly in the hot weather after you posted it last year. As miserable as last weekend was in upstate NY, this weekend is glorious. Warm, summerly, but not so humid, windows open, scent of just cut grass drifting in. I think we’ll drink this tonight at sunset.

  • Mark Pruett

    I’ll have to try Izze and the San Pellegrino Pompelmo!

    Of the Mexican grapefruit (“Toronja”), Jarritos is definitely the best; most of the others are WAY too sweet and lack that Grapefruit bitterness. Jarritos has a little bit, and for whatever reason, works very well with Tequila.

    (I actually bought every sort of Spanish-labeled grapefruit soda I could find here in Dallas!)

  • Ken W

    Wonderful cocktail. Squirt and tequilla is pretty close and will work if limes aren’t available.

  • Rick

    I love the Izze sodas but would like to put in a plug for Jarritos Grapfruit and other flavored sodas. These are made in Mexico and often used in AZ and NM to make Palomas. They are available in Mexican market stores and are beyond refreshing for mixing with spirits of all kinds.

  • Styggiti

    As much as I like the tequila version, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Palomas made with mezcal instead. I find the smokiness of a decent mezcal gives the drink more depth than does tequila. Give it a try.

  • crescentfresh

    Was about to post how good this drink is with mezcal, and now see im not the first. I concur. Awesome with mezcal.

  • liz

    I make a Jamaican “Rum Ting” – it uses Ting, a Jamaican grapefruit soda, (sold in Publix, small $1 bottles, perfect size for one drink) with dark rum and a squeeze of a wedge of lime -veeeery refreshing down here in always hot FL….now I can try the Izzie soda with rum, and you can try the tequila with Ting!


  1.  Paloma Cocktail | Kitchen Moments
  2.  Friday Cocktail Hour: The Ludwig | Michael Ruhlman