Sparkling Paloma Cocktail With Agave
If you love margaritas, it’s time to level up and add this Paloma cocktail to your drink repertoire. It’s tart, not too sweet, and SO simple to make. All you need to make my version is some fresh citrus, tequila, sparkling water, a sweetener, and salt. (Probably things you have on hand!) This easy cocktail is a crowd-pleaser and the perfect refreshing drink for sunny days. Scroll along and let’s whip one up!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
Think of the Paloma cocktail like the margarita’s cool cousin – she’s got some similar ingredients and flavors, but she’s unique. You may not see her as often, but she’s memorable.
You really can’t go wrong with the main elements of this drink – citrus and carbonation. The sparkling water, fresh grapefruit juice, and lime juice in this drink have to be the most refreshing combo.
Let’s not forget about tequila… it’s here for a good time.
You’ll dig this tequila cocktail because it’s easy to make, fresh-tasting, and not too sweet. The sweetness comes from fresh grapefruit juice and agave nectar, which you can modify to suit your tastebuds.
Palomas are enjoyed in Mexico and beyond. Traditionally, you’ll find them made with grapefruit soda, lime juice, and tequila. (If you want to geek out about the history of this drink, check out this article!)
I made a couple of tweaks to the classic Paloma cocktail formula. Instead of grapefruit soda, I added fresh grapefruit juice for more tartness, color, and punchy grapefruit flavor. For sweetness, I added agave nectar.
Do your prep steps
Start by putting your glass in the freezer for an extra refreshing drink. Then, get your ingredients ready so you’re not fumbling with them as you build your drink. Juice that grapefruit and lime, slice your garnish, and prep your salt plate.
Shake and pour like a pro
Once you’re ready to shake things up, add your ingredients to the shaker cup. But wait! Let me share some pro tips I learned from bartenders on TikTok:
- Don’t add ice to your shaker before adding liquids – it dilutes your drink! (Especially if you get distracted and leave the shaker cup sitting there for a bit.)
- Start with pouring in the cheaper ingredients (juices, sweeteners, etc.) before expensive ones (spirits). If you make a mistake with your proportions, this saves you from a pricy mistake!
After you’ve added your juices, agave, and tequila to the shaker, add ice, seal the shaker, and give it a good shake until the shaker feels cold. You don’t have to shake super vigorously to dilute and cool the drink, since you’re serving this drink over ice.
Finally, rub a lime wedge around the rim of your chilled glass, dip it in salt to coat, then fill the glass with ice. Pour your cocktail creation into the prepared glass and top with sparkling water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both are tequila cocktails with citrus, but they have some key differences. A margarita is made with lime juice, orange liquor, a sweetener, and tequila. Palomas don’t have orange liquor but they do feature grapefruit juice.
A greyhound is also a grapefruit cocktail, but it’s made with either gin or vodka.
It’s a matter of preference. A traditional paloma is made with grapefruit soda, so it’s probably a bit sweeter. If you’d like to have more control over the sweetness of your cocktail, fresh grapefruit juice is lovely.
- Make it with grapefruit soda – This is the traditional way to make a Paloma cocktail, and it’s delicious! Start by adding lime juice, agave nectar, tequila, and ice to a shaker in the same amounts listed in the recipe card. Shake it up, strain over ice, then top with grapefruit soda.
- Sweeter version – To sweeten up this cocktail, add more agave nectar to taste.
- Less sweet version – If you don’t like sweet cocktails, you can omit the agave nectar.
- Mocktail version – Omit the tequila and this will still be a lovely drink! You can also swap in an alcohol-free spirit like Ritual.
- Try a different flavor – Add a touch of muddled fruit or jalapeno to switch up the flavor profile.
- Large batch version – Multiply the shaken ingredients (lime juice, grapefruit juice, agave nectar, tequila) by 8 (2 cups tequila, 1 cup lime juice, 2 cups grapefruit juice, 4 tsp agave nectar) and mix in a pitcher. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, pour a serving into a glass filled with ice and top with sparkling water. (This version will be a bit stronger since we’re not shaking it with ice to dilute. Add more sparkling water if you’d like your drink more diluted.)
Sparkling Paloma Cocktail
- cocktail jigger
- cocktail shaker
- cocktail strainer
- rocks glass (although any short glass will work)
- 1 oz lime juice freshly squeezed
- 2 oz grapefruit juice freshly squeezed
- ½ tsp agave nectar or liquid sweetener of choice
- 2 oz tequila
- 3 oz sparkling water I recommend grapefruit or lime-flavored
- 1 tsp salt I used coarsely ground Himalayan pink salt for color
- 1 grapefruit wedge optional
- Prepare garnishes – cut grapefruit into a small wedge, add salt to a small plate. (Optional – put your glass in the freezer for an extra cold drink!)
- Add lime juice, grapefruit juice, agave nectar, and tequila to a shaker cup. Add ice. Seal the shaker cup and shake until the cup feels very cold (about 30 seconds).
- Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your chilled rocks glass, then dip in salt to coat the rim. Add ice to fill the glass.
- Place a cocktail strainer on top of the cocktail shaker and strain the mixture into the prepared rocks glass.
- Top with sparkling water and garnish with a grapefruit wedge. Cheers!
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.
- No cocktail shaker? Add the ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake (but not too vigorously!)
- No cocktail strainer? You can place a small sieve over your glass and pour the drink through that. You can also use both parts of the shaker cup and make a small gap to pour the drink through. Alternatively, you can pour directly from the shaker into your cup – ice and all!