Traditional recipes

Serrano-Spiced Paloma Cocktail

Serrano-Spiced Paloma Cocktail

Happy Friday, friends. I’m buzzing with ideas after brunch (and entirely too much coffee) with the fine bloggers behind Gimme Some Oven and Minimalist Baker. Hanging out with blog friends always makes this gig seem slightly less absurd.

An example of such absurdity took place yesterday afternoon—I snapped these photos during rare moments of sunshine while cursing the dark clouds rolling overhead. It was a game of cat and mouse, and the winner earned a melting cocktail.

I glanced through my cocktail selection the other day and realized that the older drinks aren’t exactly representative of the cocktails I order these days. I generally alternate between light, fizzy, clinky drinks (bourbon and soda with lots of lemon, for example) and stupid-expensive, swanky little numbers (believe it or not, this Midwestern city offers some stellar cocktails). I’m a sucker for savory accents like peppers or olives and foreign liqueurs that I can’t pronounce. How else am I going to justify a 12-dollar drink, if it doesn’t contain ingredients that I don’t have at home?

This grapefruit cocktail is precisely my kind of drink, and fortunately, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to make at home. It has some kick to it thanks to tequila and Serrano pepper, but bittersweet grapefruit juice and a dash of agave nectar round out the flavors nicely. I’ve learned through trial and error with my pineapple serrano cocktail that muddling a tiny round of pepper into the drink lends just as much flavor as more time-consuming methods of infusing liquor/simple syrup with peppers. If you’re sensitive to spice, you can use the tiniest sliver of pepper or omit it altogether.

Palomas are typically made with grapefruit soda, but I opted to keep it light and refreshing with a combination of fresh juice and club soda. Actually, I happened to have grapefruit-flavored club soda in my fridge (the pamplemousse flavor by Lacroix), so I reached for that instead of plain club soda. It’ll be great with unflavored club soda, too, though. I think you’ll love it either way.

Serrano-Spiced Paloma Cocktail

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Fresh, spicy paloma cocktail made with grapefruit juice and tequila. Most paloma cocktail recipes call for grapefruit soda, but I lightened this one up with club soda and agave nectar.



Per drink

  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice (which is about 1 lime, juiced)
  • ½ teaspoon light agave nectar or 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • 1 thinly sliced serrano round (⅛th to ¼th inch wide, a little goes a long way!)
  • 2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice (which is less than 1 grapefruit worth of juice)
  • 2 ounces silver or blanco tequila
  • 1 ½ ounces grapefruit-flavored club soda or plain club soda

Salt rim and garnish

  • 2 teaspoons kosher and/or sea salt
  • Lime wedge, for lining the rim
  • Small grapefruit wedges, for garnish


  1. First, prepare your cocktail glass: Pour the sea salt onto a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the rim of your glass and roll the edge of the glass onto the salt. Fill the prepared glass with ice.
  2. In a cocktail shaker or mason jar, muddle together the lime juice, agave nectar and one small slice of Serrano pepper. Fill the shaker with ice, then pour in the grapefruit juice and tequila.
  3. Put the lid on your shaker/jar and shake until the mixture is thoroughly chilled. Pour the blend into your prepared glass. Top off the cocktail with club soda. Garnish with a small wedge of grapefruit.


  • Recipe influenced by A Cozy Kitchen, Bon Appetit, as well as my pineapple-serrano-cilantro cocktail and fresh margarita recipes.
  • You can make a few cocktails at once in your cocktail shaker. Just multiply the per-drink amounts as necessary.
  • No agave nectar at home? You can make simple syrup by combining equal parts water and sugar in a small jar with a lid. Put on the lid and shake until the sugar is dissolved in the water.
  • Tequila recommendations: Espolón, Milagro or any other 100% agave tequila.
  • Lacroix makes a grapefruit-flavored club soda (the pamplemousse flavor) that goes great with fresh grapefruit juice.

▸ Nutrition Information

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Watch the video: How To Make a Paloma With Only Four Ingredients - Cocktail Hour (January 2022).