Paloma means dove in Spanish. We think that’s the perfect way to describe this slightly more peaceful approach to a margarita. A traditional margarita, when made well, is a balanced concoction of lime juice, tequila, sweetener, and maybe splash of orange (we like fresh). A salted rim takes it in a decidedly assertive direction. If you’re new to tequila drinking or just want to take part in the fun, try this gentler approach with grapefruit juice and a little less tequila than usual. Be sure to avoid the white pith when you’re removing the grapefruit zest for the syrup—it can make the syrup bitter—use a Y-shaped peeler for the cleanest peels.

Photo: Greg DuPree
Hands On Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
4 serves


  • For the Grapefruit Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • ½ cup water

  • 6 2-in. strips grapefruit zest

  • For the Paloma:

  • 1 cup Ruby Red grapefruit juice, chilled

  • ½ cup (4 oz.) silver tequila (do not use mezcal), chilled

  • 2 tablespoons Grapefruit Simple Syrup

  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

  • ¾ cup club soda, chilled

  • Grapefruit peel twists


  1. Prepare the Grapefruit Simple Syrup: Combine sugar, water, and grapefruit zest in a small saucepan. Cook over high, whisking occasionally, until sugar dissolves, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard rind. Cover and chill syrup until ready to use.

  2. Prepare the Paloma: Stir together grapefruit juice, tequila, syrup, and lime juice in a pitcher. (Reserve remaining Grapefruit Simple Syrup for another use.) Pour evenly into tall glasses filled with ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with grapefruit peel twists.

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