pomegranate grapefruit paloma

All January and early February, as glacial winds smacked us in our face on the walk to school — and somehow back too (uphill, both ways, etc.) — I counted down the days until we would go to Florida to visit my parents (who winter-as-a-verb there like all the other smart retirees of the Northeast) and thaw our bones for five days. Instead, the warm weather found its way here and apparently it’s been full-out spring while we were away but I’m not mad, how could I be, I was sitting on a beach in the middle of winter and it was exactly what we needed, or at least the 3/4 of us that are willing to let our feet touch the sand. Spotty wi-fi, falling asleep shortly after the kids did each night (one who learned a new word “mom-MEE!”) and great heaps of fresh fruit at the hotel’s breakfast buffet (shamelessly one of my favorite resort things) all contributed to an overall feeling of wellness that I hope to carry with me at least for the next 15 minutes, because I believe in keeping expectations reasonable.

west palmwest palm

[Somewhere in here is a wry observation of how far this is from the kid-free cocktails-on-the-beach style vacations we’ve taken other years, but if there’s anything that the retiree population of Florida makes clear it’s that you get those days back, although you might spend them cooing over other people’s tiny children and telling them how much you miss those exhausting days. I’ll spare you.]

what you'll needsalt rima little stiradd the fizz

Before I left, however, I made us a holiday-ish cocktail that instantly became my new favorite winter thing. We usually think of margaritas as the go-to Mexican cocktail, but the unfussy and unfancy paloma is much more a bar standard, part tequila and part grapefruit-flavored soda (usually Fresca, Squirt or Jarritos), saved on the rocks with a lime wedge, sometimes with a salt rim too. A grapefruit junkie, I like to make it with fresh juice and a splash of lightly sweetened seltzer, but when cleaning out the fridge before we went away I found both a full pomegranate (score!) and pomegranate juice and decided to make a version with both. It was fizzy, dark pink, tart-sweet perfection, all with a proper kick of tequila and I really, really think you should too.

pomegranate grapefruit paloma


One year ago: White Russian
Two years ago: Spaghetti Pangrattato with Crispy Eggs
Three years ago: Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew
Four years ago: Blood Orange Margaritas
Five years ago: Double Coconut Muffins
Six years ago: Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil
Seven years ago: Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze and Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
Eight years ago: Devil’s Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Red Kidney Bean Curry
Nine years ago: Pear and Almond Tart
Ten! years ago: For Beaming Bewitching Breads and Baked Tomato Sauce

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Eggplant Parmesan Melts
1.5 Years Ago: Angel Hair Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce
2.5 Years Ago: Smoky Eggplant Dip and Strawberries and Cream with Graham Crumbles
3.5 Years Ago: Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes and Almond-Crisped Peaches
4.5 Years Ago: Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes

Pomegranate Grapefruit Paloma

  • Servings: 1
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The sugar is optional but trust me, as someone who doesn't sweet-first cocktails that this is still tart and balanced with it. I don't skip it. You could make it with all grapefruit juice or you could make it with all pomegranate juice and both work, but if you get a chance to make it with both, I think you'll find, like us, it's meant to be. Size-wise, this fit neatly in this 8.65-ounce tumbler. Finally, this combination — fizzy, lightly sweetened pomegranate and grapefruit juice — makes a fine mocktail, just add a bit more fizz and adjust to taste.

  • 2 thin slices or small wedges grapefruit
  • Kosher salt for rim, if desired
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey, sugar or agave
  • 1/4 cup white tequila
  • About 3 medium-sized ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup club soda or seltzer
  • A few pomegranate arils (for garnish)

If you'd like to salt the rim of you glass, put a little kosher salt on a small plate. Swipe the rim of your glass with a wedge of grapefruit (or a wedge from the emptied grapefruit you've just juiced) and place the damp rim in the salt, twisting to coat it.

Place both juices and honey or sugar in the bottom of your glass and use a long spoon to stir it until combined, and/or until the sugar has dissolved. Add tequila, stir to combine. Add ice then club soda or seltzer. Garnish with additional grapefruit slices and pomegranate arils. Repeat as needed.

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72 comments on pomegranate grapefruit paloma

  1. “Repeat as needed.” I tell you what.

    Glad to see somebody pulling for the paloma — a friend made one for me with tequila infused with fresh strawberries a few years ago, and I’ve been hooked since. I love this fresh fruit/wintry fruit version.

  2. Charlotte in Toronto

    Not to worry. Winter will still be here when you get home. I love pomegranate. This will be on my list of things to drink this summer. Or maybe Easter Sunday. Or maybe even this weekend…

  3. Melissa

    I’m naughty and make palomas with Stiegl Radler. Our local tex-mex brunch diner does them that way and mmmmmm. I mean, it’s practically soda, right?

    1. Madison

      I make them with Steigl Radlers too! With a bit of fresh grapefruit and lime juice, they are perfection. We made them for Mexican Thanksgiving last year and they were definitely a hit.

      1. Charlotte in Toronto

        What’s Mexican Thanksgiving? I’m intrigued. Regular Thanksgiving with Mexican food? A Mexican spin on American Thanksgiving food? Turkey Mole? With a side of quacamole? Please elaborate. I’m always open to another holiday built around food.

  4. Jessica

    Do you think this would work well with Pama instead of tequila (a pomegranate liqueur that includes tequila and vodka)? I’m not a tequila fan, but am loving Pama as a mixer!

  5. Megan

    Is Jacob really reading that book? He’s 7, right? Wow, looks like you’re not the only one in the family good with the written word!

    1. deb

      He is but he gets his bookishness from his dad. He asked me the other day what my favorite books were at his age and I was like, er, Freckle Juice? Ramona Quimby? I can’t remember exactly but he’s been over those level books for 1 to 2 years and looked at me strangely.

  6. We’ve had an early spring days here in Colorado for the last couple of weeks, then boom yesterday and today we are hit again with snow… crazy changing weather. Lovely drink, looks very refreshing. A question, though, do you think I can make it without the tequila?, we do not consume alcoholic beverages here so what can I use as a sub?. Thanks.

        1. deb

          My vote would be to swap it with more seltzer, however, if you’d like things sweeter or more fruity, you could do a 1/3 each with seltzer, grapefruit and pomegranate. I think this would be good with a lime twist.

  7. Wendy

    I’m definitely interested in the mocktail version of this. If I wanted to do a big batch of the juice for a brunch, could you recommend measurements?

  8. Nicole

    I’m a huge Paloma fan and this sounds fantastic. Funnily though, as a citrus-spoiled Californian, I’ve never thought of a Paloma made with anything but real grapefruit juice, Fresca doesn’t count in my book :) Love that this is an “authentic” twist, can’t wait to try it!

  9. Wow, I’m glad I happened upon your blog again. I followed you at some point back when you were about 5 or 6 years in, and then after job changes/computer changes/blah blah lost the connection. 10 years now, wow! I’m looking forward to hunting up recipes of yours when I need to make something specific.

  10. Carissa

    This sounds yummy! I love tequila! Do you have a suggestion for another citrus that would work in place of the grapefruit? (Due to medication, I cannot have grapefruit. *sigh*)

  11. fromjessicaskitchen

    I’ve never had a paloma and see the time is now. Love every ingredient, and this cocktail combines them all? Thank you Deb for bringing this much-needed elixir into my life.

  12. Darlene

    My cocktail of choice lately has been a Salty Dog (vodka, grapefruit, salted rim) because I love grapefruit juice – and salted rims! – but I have been wondering if there was a drink that combined grapefruit and tequila, which I prefer to vodka. I had resolved to research that, but no need now! Thanks – I look forward to giving it a try!

      1. Dinah Phillips

        Or a Bichon Frisé

        The Greyhound cocktail recipe, made with grapefruit juice and vodka, gets Frenchified with the addition of elderflower liqueur.

        1 Lemon, wedge
        2 oz Ruby red grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
        1 Ice
        1 oz St-germain elderflower liqueur
        1 oz Vodka

  13. Laura

    Love your recipes Deb! As a mom with three little ones, desperate for a vacation, I have to ask if you could tell us where you guys like to stay in West Palm Beach?? I am drooling over your photos! I’ve never (shock!) been to Florida and don’t know of good places there to vacation with kidos in tow (kinda trying to avoid anyplace with a mouse ears theme).

    1. deb

      We don’t have a preference but we stayed at a Marriott on Singer Island this time. It was very nice (I went on the water slide daily) and great for kids (really nice kid pool area) but definitely more than we’d wanted to spend. We just waited until the last minute, as we always do, and had almost no options left.

  14. Lisa

    I love grapefruit. That was my craving with my first kid. Tropicana pink grapefruit juice every single day. I just made Paloma’s for the first time last year and I love them too. I’ll have to try this recipe out soon.

    I also have to say that I used to roll my eyes at all the ladies who told me the littles goes by so fast but now that my kids are 16 and 18 I can vouch that they speak the truth.

  15. Emily

    I just made myself one of these, and it was fabulous. I didn’t buy a pomegranate just for garnish, and while I’d totally use it if I had it on hand, the drink lacked nothing. This one will become a go-to!

  16. Lacey

    The Paloma is such a great day sipper! We always have grapefruit sodas stocked in summer just for these. Izzy’s makes a nice grapefruit soda, as well as a couple other good flavors for you non grapefruit people out there (blackberry, clementine…). Cheers! Check out my hub’s cocktail blog for other ideas :-)

  17. mkdepanian

    Love grapefruit, love pomegranates, love tequila – love it all! Thanks for this recipe to jazz up a favorite summer drink.

    In the spirit of sharing, a glug of tequila in a frosty cold glass of San Pellegrino blood orange soda is just as tasty and 3 times as fast to make – in case you too have some days where 2 ingredients and speed trump handcrafted :)

  18. Claire

    We made these over the weekend to go with a sort of tex-mex themed dinner. So delish! We were lazy and used bottled grapefruit juice but they were still great and super easy. Next time I think I will add a little more sugar to mine though but they were definitely tasty as is. I love a cocktail that doesn’t require a shaker!

  19. chasingcapers

    I thought this was pretty good, BUT, I think I’m realizing that pomegranate and tequila are not a perfect match for me. I’ve made 2 margarita-ish drinks with them the past couple weeks, and I think I miss the super tart aspects of a citrus only margarita. It was enjoyed regardless though! :)

  20. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    This was such a delicious drink! I love these flavor combinations and will definitely be making this again…. though next time I might use a little less tequila and a little more seltzer as I’m a light weight and this cocktail definitely packs a punch.

  21. Whitney

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I made it with tequila for my partner and virgin for myself and it was excellent both ways. I’m going to make it again this weekend (with tequila for me too this time!)

  22. katiebins

    We sometimes twirl the rims of our margarita glasses in sugar instead of salt. I’m wondering if that might work here.

  23. Jennifer Knapp

    My friends and I sucked down two each before we made ourselves stop. We have a new favorite drink for the year! Thanks.

  24. I’ve never been one for making cocktails at home (seems like a lot of work) but I couldn’t resist this one as it seemed so simple and tequila is my favourite. I loved it! Once you have the juices squeezed, you can whip one up in a sec, brilliant!

  25. These looks so refreshing! I love how you rim the glasses so nicely and moderately. Sometimes I see people rimming their glasses with way too much salt and I keep wondering how their drinks not taste like sea water!

  26. Cindy

    I love to make Palomas with Izze Sparking Grapefruit and fresh lime juice, and I’d imagine a splash of pomegranate juice would be great with that as well!

  27. Karen Rasmusson

    Previously you had mentioned a recipe for pina coladas made with crushed pineapple but didn’t give the actual recipe. I would love to try this!