Spicy Paloma Recipe | Fresh Tastes Blog | PBS Food

Spicy Paloma: Summer Cocktail for Grapefruit Lovers

Spicy Paloma recipe

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I just got back from a short, but very sweet and hot, vacation in Palm Springs. If you’ve ever been to Palm Springs you know that it’s perfect for doing absolutely nothing. And trust me, I did just that.

Spicy Paloma recipe

While I was there, battling and thoroughly enjoying 100 degree weather, Mexican food was the thing I craved the most. There’s something about summer that just screams spicy tacos, guacamole and icy, sweet and salty drinks. And while I love Mexican food in abundance, especially given the hot temperatures, margaritas are never my tune – they’re generally too sour and sweet for my taste. In place of the typical margarita, I’ve been playing around with something that I think is better: The Paloma.

Spicy Paloma recipe

This past year I’ve had a full-on obsession with all things grapefruit. I’ve made things like custards, tarts and cakes using my favorite citrus ever. I think it’s a combination of my love for foods that are slightly bitter, sweet, a teeny bit tart, and the pretty blush pink hue doesn’t hurt either.

Spicy Paloma recipe

A traditional paloma is usually tequila, grapefruit soda with an added splash of lime juice. I love this version because it’s slightly heavier on the grapefruit flavor (fresh grapefruit juice is used), less tequila is added (I’m a wimp but feel free to add more!), and the spicy element is right up my alley. If you’re scratching your head wondering where you can get grapefruit soda, not to worry. The most popular Mexican soda brands are Jarritos and Squirt. Both can be found at Latin markets. If you can’t find it, then you can simply use soda water.

Another favorite thing about this drink is the rim. I love mixing together cane sugar and good-tasting salt (like Maldon Sea Salt) to rim the glasses.

Spicy Paloma recipe

Spicy Paloma

Spicy Paloma recipe

This spicy paloma recipe from food blogger Adrianna Adarme combines tequila, grapefruit juice, and jalapeños on the Fresh Tastes blog. The rim mixes together sugar and sea salt for a refreshing cocktail.



  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño, sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 1 1/2 cup (from 5 ruby red grapefruits) fresh grapefruit juice, strained and pulp discarded
  • 1 lime
  • Squirt soda (or any other grapefruit-flavored soda or soda water)
  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt


  1. In a small saucepan, mix together the water, agave nectar and jalapeño. Cook on medium-low until the agave is dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding the jalapeños (or alternatively you could use them as the garnish), and set aside the spicy simple syrup.
  2. In a small plate, mix together the cane sugar and sea salt. Run a lime wedge around each glass and dip the rim in the sugar/salt mixture. To assemble one cocktail, drop few ice cubes in a cocktail glass. Add 1 ounce of tequila, 1 ounce of spicy simple syrup, 3 ounces of grapefruit juice, a squeeze of lime juice and a splash of grapefruit soda; mix and garnish with a few slices of jalapeño. Repeat until the remaining 3 cocktails are made.

Yield: 4 cocktails

Adrianna Adarme - PBS Food Fresh Tastes BloggerAdrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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