These Frozen Honey Palomas are the perfect drink to cool off with this summer! A quick honey syrup brings out the floral flavors of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and blanco tequila, and a pinch of salt (or a salted rim) makes these sweet and sour flavors pop.
I created this recipe in partnership with Insolito Tequila over on Instagram, and it was so good I had to share it here too.
The Insolito Blanco is a great tequila for refreshing summer sips like this, with notes of herbs and citrus. It’s perfect in tequila staples like the Classic Margarita, Fresh Strawberry Margaritas or a fun Cucumber Melon Margarita.
Tequila or mezcal?
The choice is yours! Palomas are perfect with either agave spirit. If you enjoy a milder drink, go with a tequila like Insolito, Tres Agaves, or Espolón, or a light-tasting mezcal like El Silencio.
If you enjoy the smokiness of mezcal and it’s earthier flavors, try this recipe with a bottle like Montelobos or Del Maguey Vida. And if you just picked up a new bottle of tequila or mezcal, a Paloma is a great way to get to know it!
You might also enjoy my Strawberry Paloma recipe!
How to make really great frozen cocktails at home
Ever wonder why frozen cocktails you blend up at home aren’t as good as you get at a bar or restaurant? Let’s dive into some reasons why your homemade frozen Margs are often lackluster, not smooth, or watered-down.
You need a good blender. It’s true. A base model Hamilton Beach just doesn’t have the power or blades to turn solid ice cubes into completely smooth slush.
BUT, you can really help your blender out if you use crushed ice instead of cubes. I recommend always blending frozen drinks with crushed or cracked ice.
You’ll get a much smoother drink, no matter the quality of your blender.
If you can freeze your drink ingredients beforehand, even for a couple of hours, do it! Your drinks will be extra cold and much less watery if you freeze/chill the ingredients ahead of time.
Pro tip: Freeze your cocktail ingredients (minus the liquor, which won’t freeze) in ice cube trays prior to blending. This will yield the coldest, best-tasting drink and it will allow you to get that smooth, frozen drink texture while using less ice in the process.
If using this cube method here, freeze the grapefruit juice, honey syrup, and lime juice together. Then add ½ cup of crushed ice to the blender with the tequila and a pinch of salt.
Frozen drinks can easily become too watered down by having to blend too much ice into the liquid to get the right texture.
You can fix this by using less ice, using crushed ice, and freezing or partially freezing your ingredients ahead of time. You can also fix this by adjusting your recipe like I do when making Frozen Margaritas.
Want more? Get my Perfect Frozen Margaritas recipe.
Fresh vs. bottled grapefruit juice
I love grapefruit juice, fresh or bottled. I routinely buy cartons of ruby red grapefruit juice from Whole Foods and I do use it in drinks when I don’t have fresh grapefruits.
However, freshly squeezed citrus juices will always have the best flavor. If you can get them fresh, which is possible year round here, it’s always worth that extra effort.
Just like taking the time to freeze the ingredients in advance, taking a few minutes to squeeze your own juice will make all the difference in the final cocktails.
Freshly squeezed lime juice is a must. Bottled lime and lemon juices don’t taste anything like they do fresh from the fruit.
No grapefruit soda needed
A classic Paloma is made with tequila or mezcal, a splash of lime juice, an optional salted rim, and grapefruit soda. Here we’re replacing the sweetness and tartness with honey syrup and fresh grapefruit juice.
Also, it’s never a good idea to add anything carbonated to a blender. Besides risking a Palom-explosion all over your kitchen, you’re going to lose all of those wonderful bubbles in the blending process.
If you want a little fizz, add a splash of ice-cold grapefruit soda to the drinks after they’ve been blended and poured.
Quick and easy honey syrup
Honey syrup is just as easy as simple syrup. Combine equal parts honey and water, and voila! By loosening the honey with water, it’s much easier to incorporate into cold drinks.
Learn all about honey syrup and many other uses for it in my How to Make Honey Syrup recipe!
Some like it hot
If you love a spicy Margarita or Paloma, try making these Frozen Honey Palomas with hot honey syrup! It doesn’t take a lot of time and it makes a great sweet and spicy syrup that you can add to all kinds of food and drinks.
Other recipe variations and substitutions
Make a simple, traditional-style Frozen Paloma by replacing the honey syrup here with simple syrup or agave syrup. If using agave, cut the quantity in half, as it’s twice as sweet. If following my recipe, this would look like: 1 ounce of simple syrup or ½ ounce of agave syrup.
Make it a frozen Strawberry or Raspberry Paloma by replacing the honey syrup with a berry simple syrup! Learn how to make just about any fruit syrup in my Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Syrups.
Add a handful of frozen fruit like berries, peaches, or mango for a fruity twist.
Infuse the tequila (or mezcal) with dried hibiscus flowers or hibiscus tea for a brilliant pink-red cocktail and even more tart flavor.
Simply add a tea bag or a couple tablespoons of dried flowers to a mason jar and fill the jar with your spirit of choice. Let the mixture steep for 20 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on how strong you want it to taste. It doesn’t take long at all!
If you enjoy this recipe, let me know! Tag me on Instagram @moodymixologist and Pinterest!
You might also enjoy these other tequila cocktails:
- Strawberry Paloma
- Perfect Frozen Margaritas
- Fresh Strawberry Margaritas
- Hot Honey Blackberry Margarita
Frozen Honey Palomas
- 2 oz tequila or mezcal (I used Insolito Blanco)
- 3 oz freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
- 1 oz honey syrup
- ½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- Pinch salt
- Combine all ingredients in a blender with 3/4 cup of crushed ice and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with grapefruit and basil, if desired.
- Use a good quality blender that’s capable of pulverizing ice into a uniform texture.
- Freeze the liquid ingredients (minus the tequila or mezcal) in advance, if possible. This will help create a colder, smoother, less watered down drink. If freezing ingredients, add a 1/2 cup of crushed ice (rather than 3/4 cup) when blending.
- Use crushed ice rather than cubed ice for the best texture.
- Chill your glassware ahead of time to keep things extra cold.