Strawberry Paloma (An Easy Tequila Cocktail)

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This easy Strawberry Paloma is a fun variation on the classic tequila cocktail. A classic Paloma is made with tequila (or mezcal), a squeeze of lime juice, and grapefruit soda.

This riff adds a few muddled strawberries for a bright and fruity flavor that’s perfect for summer. Add a pinch of salt or a salted rim to make all of the sweet and sour flavors pop even more!

The murky history of La Paloma

The Paloma has an unclear origin, but it may have been created in the 1950s. The history of drink has been muddled (excuse the pun) significantly by fake Wikipedia entries. Read more about that over on the very enlightening Paloma History article on Alcademics.

From Mr. English’s research into the murky history of the drink, it appears that the most likely origin of the Paloma was that it evolved naturally following the invention of Squirt grapefruit soda.

Squirt has been around since the late ‘30s, but didn’t make it to Mexico until 1955. It’s likely that soon after being introduced, folks started casually mixing it with tequila, and somehow later it came to be known as the Paloma.

The word Paloma is Spanish for ‘dove,’ and there are a variety of stories about how or why the drink came to be called that. Some say it got its name from an old Mexican folk song.

Whatever the case, La Paloma is a tasty and easy to make cocktail that’s worth knowing and adding to your home bar rotation! If you enjoy Margaritas, give the Paloma a try.

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The basic Paloma recipe

Even easier than a classic Margarita, a Paloma can be as simple as tequila and grapefruit soda, but most modern recipes call for a squeeze of lime and a dash of salt (or a salted rim).

This Strawberry Paloma takes things a step further by muddling fresh strawberries with the lime juice, adding tequila, and shaking these ingredients with ice before straining them over fresh ice and topping with grapefruit soda. This adds the flavor of fresh strawberries without adding any extra sweetness, like you would by using a strawberry syrup.

How to make it with strawberry simple syrup

You can certainly make a Strawberry Paloma with strawberry simple syrup, you’ll just want to make sure that you add enough lime juice to balance the sweetness.

I would start with ½ ounce of strawberry syrup and ½ ounce of lime juice mixed with 2 ounces of tequila and about 4 ounces of grapefruit soda. You can tweak the recipe to your liking from there. Learn how to make fruit simple syrups in my Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Syrups!

Tequila or mezcal?

You can make this cocktail with any tequila or mezcal you prefer. I used Santera Tequila Blanco here and it was delicious. I also enjoy making Palomas with Tres Agaves organic tequila and El Silencio, which is a lightly smoky, easy-going mezcal.

Grapefruit soda options 

I love to make Palomas with the craft Italian grapefruit soda from Whole Foods. It’s also great with the fancy grapefruit sodas from Q Mixers and Fever-Tree. You can go classic with Squirt, or even use easy to find brands like Fresca or Jarritos.

I used Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit in this recipe. It’s a bit floral and not too sweet, so it’s great with strawberries.

top down view of an orange colored highball cocktail with strawberries and lime

Have grapefruits but no grapefruit soda?

You can DIY the grapefruit soda component by using 2 ounces of fresh grapefruit juice, ½ ounce of simple (or honey) syrup, and topping it with cold sparkling water. 

You’ll want to add the grapefruit juice and simple syrup to the cocktail shaker along with the muddled strawberries, lime juice and tequila. Shake, and then strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top with your bubbly water. This makes for a very fresh and satisfying Paloma with only a little bit of extra work. 

Make it spicy

Muddle a couple of jalapeño slices with your strawberries to add some heat to your Paloma. If you have a favorite hot sauce, you could add a dash or two to the shaker instead of using jalapeños.

You may also enjoy:

an orange cocktail in a highball glass garnished with lime and strawberry
top down view of an orange colored highball cocktail with strawberries and lime

Strawberry Paloma

Amy Traynor
This easy Strawberry Paloma is a fun variation on the classic tequila cocktail. Muddled fresh strawberries add bright, fruity to flavor to this blend of tequila (or mezca), grapefruit soda, and lime juice.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz tequila or mezcal
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • 2-3 strawberries
  • 4-6 oz grapefruit soda
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions
 

  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries with the lime juice.
  • Add the tequila and a small pinch of sea salt and fill the shaker ¾ with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
  • Top with chilled grapefruit soda and garnish with grapefruit, strawberries, or lime.

Notes

Don’t have grapefruit soda?

Substitute with 2 oz grapefruit juice and ½ oz simple or honey syrup and top with sparkling water or club soda

Strawberry Paloma with Fresh Grapefruit Juice

Ingredients:
  • 2 oz tequila or mezcal
  • 2 oz grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • Juice of a half a lime
  • 2-3 strawberries, hulled and rough chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Chilled sparkling water
Instructions:
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries with the lime juice. 
  2. Add the tequila, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and a small pinch of sea salt, and fill the shaker ¾ with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
  3. Top with chilled sparkling water and garnish with grapefruit, strawberries, or lime.
Keyword grapefruit, mezcal, paloma, strawberry, tequila


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