Grapefruit Paloma Margaritas Happy National Margarita Day!! Yes, it’s a thing. A very, very good thing.
I can honest to goodness say it’s a good thing now that I’ve discovered what really goes into a margarita because up until about 2 years ago, I couldn’t stand these super salty, ridiculously crappy sweet and sour mix/well tequila laden cocktails AT ALL.  If I drank one I knew the next day I would have a little something I like to call “Hangover Heartburn”.  It’s where a migraine meets acid reflux and has a baby.  The only cure for it is a shot of antacid with an ibuprofen chaser.

Welcome to 30, you old so-and-so.  I’ve saved you a seat right here next to me.

It wasn’t until I had my first real, honest to goodness margarita from real ingredients that I conceded that margaritas didn’t have to be happy hour nightmares dressed up in weird little umbrellas and maraschino cherries.  They are actually made out of lime juice, sugar, tequila, triple sec, and ice.  No blending. No sweet and sour mix. No tequila out of a fountain squirter.  Just simple and recognizable ingredients.  Now, why this isn’t done everywhere, I don’t know but it should probably be a law.

Up until I found my holy grail margarita cantina/recipe, I just stuck to what I knew as the best tequila cocktail known to man:  The Paloma.
You may not know what a Paloma is so let me brown-girl-break-it-down for you: A “paloma” is the most popular tequila-based drink in Mexico.  It’s similar to a margarita in that it contains tequila, lime juice, and ice.  However, what sets the paloma apart is one special ingredient: grapefruit.

paloma margaritaNow this whole grapefruit thing can go two ways when making this drink:
You can keep it real and make it the way we would growing up by simply using ice, tequila, grapefruit soda and a twist of lime


you can keep it all crafty-hipster-farm-fresh-foo-foo and use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, sugar or simple syrup, fresh lime juice and top it with a floater of club soda.

I like to think I’m about a 3 on the fancy-pants scale when it comes to palomas and about a 9 on the snobby-hipster scale when it comes to margaritas.  I’m secure enough to admit this but you may not be so I have married my two selves to make this poor man’s margarita/rich man’s paloma margarita mashup recipe for you.

Now go put away the antacids but leave out that ibuprofen…you may need it after a couple of these bad boys.

I could bore you with lots of directions about pouring alcohol into a shot glass and cutting up limes to use fresh juice but that would cut into your celebration time so let’s just get to the nitty gritty, shall we?

bottles for magaritas

The snob in me will be using fresh lime juice and real ruby red grapefruit juice (both fresh squeezed but bottled will work in a pinch) in this recipe.  I’m using ruby red juice for no other good reason than I like the color of it vs regular grapefruit juice.  Pink always wins in my book.  For the liquor I am using good quality silver tequila (Don Julio Silver) and good quality triple sec which is basically just an orange-flavored liqueur (Cointreau).  I used good liquor to minimize tomorrow’s breakfast of antacid and ibuprofen (refer to paragraph 1).

The ghetto kid in me is going to keep it straight up and use Fanta Toronja aka Grapefruit Fanta Soda instead of a club soda floater.  It’s just not right to not have Squirt, Fresca or Fanta involved when making a paloma and I don’t care who knows it.  If you can’t stand using these sodas, I won’t judge you; any grapefruit soda will do.

I usually mix up four drinks at a time in a small pitcher just so I don’t have to measure out indiviudal servings four times in a row and add ice just before serving so as to not dilute the mix.  Just before serving, rub a cut lime on the rim of each glass and dip in a shallow dish of either kosher salt (for an original margarita experience) or turbinado sugar (for a sweeter cocktail kick).  Double or triple the recipe for a big party or cut it in half for just two drinks.


Paloma Margaritas

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup silver tequila (Don Julio, Patron, etc)
  • 1 cup orange liqueur (Cointreau or other triple sec)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup grapefruit soda (Squirt, Fanta, etc)
  • Ice
  • Coarse Koher salt or turbinado sugar for rimming glasses
  • limes for garnish


  1. Pour grapefruit juice and sugar into a pitcher. Stir with spoon to dissolve sugar. (If using bottled pre-sweetened juice, you may want to adjust and add the sugar AFTER adding the other ingredients so as not to make it too sweet).
  2. Add ice to pitcher.
  3. Add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice to pitcher.
  4. Top off with grapefruit soda.
  5. If you would like to rim your glass with salt or sugar, rub a lime wedge around the rim of each glass and dip them into a shallow dish filled with salt or sugar to coat.
  6. Pour cocktail into each glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.
  7. Serve immediately.