La Paloma Cocktail

Occasionally, adding salt to cocktails can help enhance, or even mask, certain flavors. In the case of the La Paloma Cocktail, arguably the most popular cocktail in Mexico, the addition of salt enhances the combined flavors of Tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda. This is a refreshing cocktail any time of the year, especially if you live or are traveling south of the border.

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2 oz Tequila Cabeza

3/4 oz lime juice

pinch of salt

grapefruit soda to top


Build in a highball glass over ice.

Stir to incorporate.

Serve with straw.


George R. Welch 25 Sep 2013
10:45 am

Wow, thanks for this lesson.  Very interesting drink.

Can you suggest a source for those nice glass decanters you use for lime juice (and grapefruit soda here)?

Greg Patenaude 25 Sep 2013
12:17 pm

Interesting.  Since grapefruit soda is not that available in Canada (or not that good), I’ve always made my La Palomas using freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and topping with soda water.  Also, I usually make it like a Tom Collins, that is, I shake the tequila, grapefruit and lime juice, strain into an ice filled Collins glass, then top with soda.  Have you ever seen this variation Robert?  By the way, the La Paloma is by far my favourite tequila cocktail!


Adam 28 Sep 2013
6:10 am

I too make mine like a Collins.

Something along the lines of
2oz Tequila Reposado
0.5oz Lime
0.5oz Grapefruit Juice
a “Squirt” of Agave Syrup
Top with Dry lemonade (Fever-Tree)

I put a Maldon rim around the glass and garnish with a grapefruit peel.

Ben N 2 Oct 2013
3:51 pm

I’ve never had grapefruit soda; I’ll have to check this one out.

On a side note, and I’m not sure where else to ask, I’m traveling to New York City soon and will be staying there for a week. Can you recommend good cocktail bars to check out? I initially thought of the Pegu Club and Clover Club. But, anything I shouldn’t miss in NYC?


Small Screen Colin 3 Oct 2013
3:08 pm


Try Dead Rabbit, Death and Co., Mayahuel, Booker and Dax, Employees Only, Little Branch, Huckleberry, Dram, Maison Premiere. That should get you started.
Have fun!

Robert Hess 3 Oct 2013
5:35 pm

And of course start out at the Pegu Club.

Ian Picco 19 Oct 2013
5:45 pm

Okay, so I had to improvise here…I was fresh out of limes, and did not have grapefruit soda on hand. Here’s what I was working with:

1800 Sliver
Lemon Juice
Kosher Salt
Empire Bottling Works Spruce Beer (soda)

I picked up the Spruce beer at a novelty soda shop, and on it’s own it tastes like a cleaning product. I thought maybe this drink would be a potential use for it. Low and behold, it wasn’t to bad.

My modifications to the recipe were using lemon vs lime (though I think lime would make more sense) Spruce beer instead of the grapefruit soda, added a dash of simple, and stirred/garnished with a long sprig of rosemary.

It tastes like Christmas in Mexico. Feliz Navidad!

Lawrence Spies 31 Dec 2013
8:11 am

I love Tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, (Ruby Red), and grapefruit soda so this is my favorite cocktail! I use 1 oz fresh squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice and omit the lime juice…I think the lime juice overpowers the grapefruit soda and thats all I taste.

2 oz Tequila
1 oz fresh Ruby Red grapefruit juice
pinch of salt (omit if you don’t like/want salt)
top with grapefruit soda
garnish with lime wedge

Build in a collins glass filled with ice, stir, garnish with lime.

NicoleM 16 May 2015
3:31 pm

As a hobby mixologist, I REALLY enjoy the series. One question I have that comes up repeatedly, but specifically with this drink is regarding the instruction to “top off” with a certain liquid. I understand that one would hypothetically fill the glass with this last liquid, but when there are different sizes of glassware, couldn’t this throw off the proportions? Is there any sort of standard amount that could be measured to “top off” a cocktail? Thanks!

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