Say “Cinco de Mayo cocktail,” and most people will say “Margarita!” We’d like to offer a different suggestion this year: the Paloma. The Paloma cocktail recipe is below, along with lots of food and drink recipes for Cinco de Mayo.
In Mexico, the Paloma, not the Margarita, is Mexico’s favorite cocktail.
It couldn’t be easier to make: Combine tequila and grapefruit soda (or in a more sophisticated form, grapefruit juice).
The recipes follow. But first:
PALOMA COCKTAIL HISTORY
Even though it may be the most popular tequila-based cocktail in Mexico according to Taste Cocktails, the history of the Paloma is murky.
There are two leading contenders:
Some believe that the cocktail was named after La Paloma (“The Dove”), the popular folk song composed in the early 1860s. Here’s the original recording, and here’s the Julio Iglesisas version. The moment you hear the opening bars, you’ll recognize it.
Difford’s Guide, a website devoted to beer, wine and spirits, claims that the Paloma was created by the legendary bartender Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner of La Capilla, in Tequila, Mexico. He also created the Batanga CocktailBatanga Cocktail in 1961.
Here’s another anecdoteHere’s another anecdote, attributing the invention to bartender Evan Harrison.
Others attribute the invention of the cocktail following the release of Squirt grapefruit soda in 1938.
RECIPE: PALOMA COCKTAIL
In Mexico, the classic Paloma is made with tequila and grapefruit soda. In the U.S., the Mexican brand Jarritos can be found in Latino markets. In the U.S., Fresca is the most available brand, with the benefit of Diet Fresca to avoid the sugar. Many supermarkets also carry Squirt.
But smaller brands also make grapefruit soda. Look for Fever Tree, Izze, Q, Spindrift, and others. Pink grapefruit soda adds welcome color to the drink: a Pink Paloma.
However: We prefer fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice—particularly pink or red grapefruit juice. You can add club soda to approximate the fizziness of the soda.
Reposado tequila provides a more complex flavor.
A grapefruit wedge is the classic garnish, but consider adding a second garnish: crunchy cucumber and delicate microgreens, for example.
Some people prefer the salt on the rim of the glass, some shake it into the drink itself, and some omit it entirely.
And a rim on the glass can add some sweet heat.
2 ounces blanco or reposado tequila
6 ounces grapefruit soda or fresh grapefruit juice and club soda
1/2 ounce lime juice
Optional salt or flavored salt for rimming
Ingredients Per Drink
1. RIM a tall glass. Add the tequila and lime juice. Add the ice, top off with the grapefruit soda (or the grapefruit juice and club soda), and stir.
MORE CINCO DE MAYO RECIPES
Also check out:
Cinco de Mayo Cocktail Party
Hispanic Cheeses: How To Use Them
Sweet & Heat Pairings
30+ Margarita Recipes
Bandera Tequila Shots
Cucumber-Apple Agua Fresca
Tequila Cocktail Recipes #1
Tequila Cocktail Recipes #2
Tropical Agua Fresca
Make Your Own Chile-Infused Tequila
Fried Egg Quesadilla
Turkey Chorizo Scrambled Eggs
Deconstructed Enchilada Salad
Mexican Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Mexican Torta Sandwich
Beer & Salsa Bar
Chili Cornbread Layered Salad
Hispanic Cheeses With Hot Pepper Mango Salsa
Lobster Guacamole #1
Lobster Guacamole #2
Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup
Mexican Fiesta Won Tons
Nachos Fully Loaded
Naked Nachos & Skillet Nachos
Prickly Pear Salad Dressing
Savory Chocolate Gazpacho
Savory Mexican Parfait
Tex-Mex Queso Dip
Tortilla Chips & Steak Bites
Uses For Tortilla Chips At All Meals
APPETIZERS – FIRST COURSES
Chicken Enchiladas Casserole
Cinco de Mayo Baked Potatoes
Corn & Bean Salsa Baked Potatoes
Fish Veracruz Style
Grilled Chicken Or Fish With Pico De Gallo
Homemade Corn Tortillas
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Jalapeño Compound Butter
Jalapeño Pasta Bake
Potato Wedge Nachos
Red Pepper Sour Cream Garnish
MAINS & SIDES
Biscochitos Cinnamon Bookies
Chile & Chocolate Fondue
Cinco de Mayo Strawberries
Dulce De Leche Cookies
Dulce De Leche Rice Pudding
Grilled Mango Bowls With Ice Cream
Ice Cream Tacos
Margarita Chile Cheesecake Bars
Mexican Cheese Course
Spicy Chocolate Fondue
Tres Leches Cake
 A Paloma with pink grapefruit juice and a flavored salt rim (photo © X Bar | Hyatt Regency Los Angeles).
 A Paloma is typically a tall drink… (photo © Don Julio Tequila).
 But you can serve it in a rocks glass (photo © Taste Cocktails).
 In Mexico, the Paloma is mixed with grapefruit soda, like Jarritos (photo © Oowyui Jiwa | Unsplash).
 Here’s what the cocktail looks like with regular (not pink) grapefruit soda or juice (photo © ).
 You can add to the classic grapefruit wedge garnish. Here, crunchy cucumber and microgreens add more layers of flavor (photo © Brooke Lark | Unsplash).
 Food fun: The Mockingbird restaurant in Nashville makes Paloma “frozen cocktails” with ice pops (photo © The Mockingbird).