HOW TO: The Paloma


A Mexican staple – ‘The Dove’ gets charged with home-made soda

By Simon McGoram


Photography by Steve Brown

Presented by Tim Greening, Felix, Sydney


320-330 George Street

There are various recipes for the Paloma (Spanish for ‘dove’) – a refreshingly simple mix of Tequila and grapefruit soda. The combo is a staple in Mexican bars and at its most basic is a mix of any old mixto Tequila with the local, tooth-ache-inducing, grapefruit soft drink Squirt (it only contains one percent actual grapefruit juice). In fact, so ubiquitous is this mix that El Jimador – Mexico’s number one selling Tequila produce a ready to drink Paloma for the Mexican and US markets.

Made with quality fresh ingredients, however, this tipple is nothing short of delicious – a fresh Margarita alternative for your Tequila imbibing patrons. It’s no wonder that this is Mexico’s most popular mixed beverage.

The Forbidden Fruit

Forgetting Tequila for the moment, the Paloma’s success relies on grapefruit – a citrus hybrid originally from Barbados where it was for a time referred to as the ‘forbidden fruit’. The grapefruit (toronja in Spanish) is often mistaken for the pomelo the largest species of the citrus family native to Southeast Asia. Grapefruit is actually the bitter hybrid of the pomelo and the sweet orange both popular crops in the colonial era Caribbean.

“The white fleshed fruit boasts stronger acidity and a pleasant bitterness… Besides who ever heard or a pink or ruby red dove?”

Grapefruit flesh can be pale-yellow (often called ‘white’ grapefruit), pink or even blood red. Sweetness varies, but generally the white fleshed fruit boasts stronger acidity and a pleasant bitterness. It’s what we’re going for in the Paloma recipe below. Besides who ever heard or a pink or ruby red dove?

The Recipe

Many recipes call for agave nectar and fresh lime juice. As we’re using a fresh white grapefruit soda these two can be dispensed with as your sweet and sour balance can be attained in your soda. If you don’t have a soda siphon you can substitute soda water and fresh grapefruit juice at a pinch. It should go without saying that a quality 100 percent agave blanco Tequila will only improve your drink.

Grapefruit Soda

430ml Freshly squeezed white grapefruit juice (strained)

120ml The Simple Syrup Company Raw Sugar Syrup (or 80ml agave nectar cut with 40ml water)

200ml Water

Mix in a bowl or measuring jug. Pour into a soda siphon and charge with one or two soda bulbs as per maker’s instructions. Chill and shake before use.

The Paloma

45ml Herradura Blanco Tequila

150ml Grapefruit soda

Flaky sea salt for rimming

Lime wedge for garnish

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  1. Thanks for the fresh soda or ‘soft drink’ recipe. Off to get a soda bottle and try a Paloma and a few other creations. Makes sense why I enjoyed my red grapefruit Margarita so much after knock off. Sinking Campari and even a dash of bitters created a great balance of dry, sweet and sour too.

  2. Great sounding drink. I’m gonna go home when I get off this evening, grab my Fizz Giz & make one straight-a-way! I’ve got everything I need, including some Mexican neighbors who’ll gladly come over to critique my creation. I noticed you use a soda syphon. I use a “Fizz Giz” ‘cuz – well, ‘cuz I don’t have a soda syphon, for one thing. And me ‘n the kids make up a dozen or so 12-ouncers of our “orange fuzzies” on the weekend & keep ‘m in the fridge. It’s just fresh squeezed OJ diluted half with filtered water. We put it in 12oz soda bottles, cap ’em & fizz ’em up for guzzling during the week.

    Of course, the kids won’t be participating in tonight’s Paloma.

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