This traditional Mexican cocktail made with fresh grapefruit juice and tequila is given a spicy kick from a chili-infused simple syrup.
I am always looking for easy cocktail recipes for entertaining. Whether I’m hosting or joining friends or family for a holiday, I truly enjoy whipping up a pitcher of spicy grapefruit Palomas. A Paloma is a Mexican cocktail made with tequila and grapefruit juice or soda.
Palomas are a great option during the fall and winter holiday season because it’s made with winter citrus fruits which are ripe and affordable that time of year.
How To Make Spicy Grapefruit Palomas
Typically made with grapefruit soda such as Fresca or Jarritos, I decided to come up with a healthier version. Instead of using store-bought soda I combined fresh grapefruit and lime juice with a chili-infused simple syrup.
Begin by making your spicy, chili-infused simple syrup. Thinly slice your Fresno chili while your sugar and water come to a boil.
After your sugar has fully dissolved, you can add you chili slices and let them infuse until the syrup has fully cooled.
Once your simple syrup has cooled, strain the liquid from the chilis. If you’ll be making cocktails immediately, set it aside. Otherwise, you can store it in your fridge for up to five days until you’re ready for it.
When you’re ready to prepare your Palomas, begin by cutting your grapefruit and limes in preparation for juicing.
When juicing any large citrus, I find that using a small fork or spoon while squeezing it helps to get as much juice as possible. I used 2 large grapefruits to get the juice needed for this drink.
Next you’ll begin to mix the cocktail! Add your fresh grapefruit and lime juice to a large pitcher.
Followed by your cooled, chili-infused, simple syrup and tequila. Make sure to stir it well.
To bring all the flavors together, I like to rim the glass with a combination of coarse Kosher salt and sugar. Run a lime wedge around your glass rim before dipping and coating it in the sugar salt.
Once your glasses are prepared with the sugar salted rim, fill with ice and the Paloma mixture to about 3/4 full.
Top off your Paloma with club soda to the rim, or to mix things up, use a different flavored La Croix or other flavored sparkling water. If you’re feeling fancy, finish your cocktail with a garnish of freshly sliced fruit.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How spicy are these palomas?
I make my chili-infused simple syrup pretty spicy because that’s how I like it. Feel free to adjust, by removing the seeds and pith, or omit altogether.
What’s an alternative to chilis to add some spice?
Ginger is a great option if you don’t have chilis on hand.
What if I don’t have any tequila?
You can easily substitute gin or vodka.
Recommended Recipes with a Paloma
Need something tasty to eat while sipping on your Paloma? These recipes all pair great with the spicy kick of the cocktail.
- Mexican Street Tacos
- Baked Chicken Taquitos
- Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor
- Fresh and Flavorful Tuna Ceviche
The subtle sweetness from the grapefruit juice, tartness from the lime juice, and spicy-sweet simple syrup create the ultimate, well-balanced cocktail.
Your straw is waiting.
Spicy Grapefruit Paloma
- 8 ounces tequila
- 1 cup fresh pink grapefruit juice (roughly two juiced)
- ¼ cup lime juice (roughly one juiced)
- 12 ounces club soda
- additional lime and grapefruit slices (optional garnish)
Chili-Infused Simple Syrup
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 1 fresno chili (thinly sliced)
Sugar Salt Rim
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- Start by preparing the Chili-Infused Simple Syrup. Place the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add chili slices and remove from heat. Let chilis steep in simple syrup until syrup is cooled. Drain, then refrigerate for up to 5 days. Note: If you need the syrup sooner, place in the freezer to quickly bring down the temp before draining the chilis.
- When you're ready to make the cocktail, place the tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and chili-infused simple syrup in a large pitcher and stir well. Place the sugar and salt for the rub on a small plate and mix with a fork to combine. Run a lime wedge along the rim of each glass then carefully dip the glasses into the sugar-salt rub until coated.
- Fill the cocktail glasses with ice and pour mixture until 3/4 full. Top off each glass with club soda and fruit garnish to serve.
Check out more of my drink recipes on my Pinterest board!