Best tequila cocktail, paloma recipe for Cinco de Mayo

The Paloma is one of the best tequila cocktails you can get (it was Uproxx’s “Cocktail of the Summer” in 2019!). The basic recipe is also very easy to do at home. It’s really just a highball with tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and grapefruit soda – some roll or die for Squirt, some for Jarritos. That’s it. With this simplicity, however, there is plenty of room for tinkering. So today I’m going to make a bar-chef-y version in a bundle that you can have ready to take to your next backyard barbecue or Cinco de Mayo celebration.

The thing with a soft drink like this is that you really want to keep that buzz going. The best way to do this is to make it a pour-it-yourself cocktail, 50/50 ratio, easy to make. Basically, I put everything in the cocktail base in batches which simply needs to be poured over ice and topped with sparkling water of your choice. It’s low impact for your guests and it’s a little more delicious than just opening a 2 liter of Squirt and tossing some limes on a table next to a bottle of tequila and a bowl of ice cream – what… I’m in for this set up for , don’t get me wrong.

Either way, the recipe below is very low impact. It takes maybe five minutes of “cooking” time and a bit of patience while the batch cocktail cools in the fridge. That’s really it, so let’s go!

Also Read: The Five Best Cocktail Recipes of the Last Six Months

Paloma in batch

Zach Johnson

Makes 20-25 cocktails.


  • 4 cups grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup grade A maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup reposado tequila
  • Pinch of salt
  • pinch of cayenne
  • Sparkling mineral water
  • Ice
  • Lime wedges for garnish

You should be able to get all of these ingredients very easily at any grocery store or liquor store. I use Corralejo Reposado because I really like it as a tequila mix. There’s a nice woodsiness with a popped sweetgrass vibe and lots of roasted agave piña.

There are a few nuances here that add more depth than just tequila with grapefruit juice. The maple syrup is there as a sweetener with more depth. You can use simple syrup or agave syrup, but they are too sweet for this recipe. There’s a lot of sugar in that grapefruit juice already, so something a little more subtle, like maple syrup – plays nicely with the reposado tequila vibe.

Apple cider vinegar works as a sort of adhesive bond between the tartness of grapefruit and lime and the sweetness of tequila and maple. It adds in that creamy, almost tart fruit layer that really helps this recipe shine.

Oh, and it’s supposed to have a salty edge. I really don’t like anything on my rim, so I skipped that step. If you want to salt your rim, knock yourself out.

Paloma in batches
Zach Johnson

What you will need:

  • big jar
  • Wooden spoon
  • Funnel
  • big bottle
  • Collins Glass
  • Hand juicer
  • paring knife
Paloma in batches
Zach Johnson


  • Add grapefruit juice, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt and cayenne pepper to a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring to mix everything well. As soon as a simmer begins, turn off the heat.
  • Cool the base to room temperature, then add the tequila and stir until well blended.
  • Funnel the base into a holding bottle (I used an old wine bottle). Close and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  • To make the cocktail, fill a Collins glass with ice. Add the Paloma mixture to the bottom half of the glass. Top up with sparkling mineral water (50/50 mix) and stir.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.

Conclusion :

Paloma in batch
Zach Johnson

Holy shit, that’s refreshing. It’s like a ray of sunshine in a glass. The tequila really shines with a nice almost creamy counterpoint (much like a grapefruit lime pie).

This drink goes down easy, has real depth, and is so easy to make. Dosing took a whole five minutes, probably a little less. Within an hour it was cool enough to make cocktails – lots of them too. Honestly, it’s worth doing just to get a bit of light after day-to-day work.

The only thing I would change is that there was a bit of pulp in the base of the batch. I would use a colander to remove it next time (learn from my mistake!). Otherwise, it’s damn delicious.

Paloma in batches
Zach Johnson
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