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The Paloma: Recipe and History

What is a Paloma?

London’s drink of Summer 2022 is calling: here’s what you need to know about the Paloma.

Paloma Recipe:

  • 50ml Reposado Tequila (we use El Sueño)

  • 60ml Grapefruit Juice

  • 10ml Lime Juice

  • 10ml Sugar Syrup

  • Soda water

Method: shaken with ice and served in a highball (tall glass) over ice with a soda top.

Paloma History

Popular in both Mexico and the United States, Palomas have an interesting history. After spending years as a favourite on the other side of the Atlantic, the Paloma seems to be finally making a splash on the UK’s shores.

The origins of the Paloma aren’t all that clear. Some say the Paloma is named after La Paloma, a Mexican folk song written in the 1860s, and according to the Difford's guide, it was created by a bartender in the town of Tequila (yes, it’s a real place!). Paloma itself means Dove, although some think that the Paloma’s name originates in a misspelling of Pomelo (Spanish for grapefruit). And that gives a clue as to what the Paloma is: it’s a tequila-based drink filled with the tart freshness of grapefruit.

In Mexico, Palomas these days aren’t really something you’ll see on a cocktail menu because they’re not really a cocktail in Mexico! A Mexican Paloma is a mix of tequila and grapefruit soda – and that’s it. It’s even been described as the national drink of Mexico by world-famous cocktail writer David Wondrich. However, for us Brits, there’s a problem with just mixing tequila and grapefruit soda: we can’t buy the right kind of grapefruit soda!

In Mexico, Squirt is the de facto grapefruit soda to go in a Paloma. In the same way that you might ask for a whisky and coke, the Paloma in Mexico is a tequila and squirt.

Apparently, no, you can’t use other grapefruit sodas! And when have you ever seen Squirt at Tesco?

Fortunately, when the Paloma migrated northwards to the US, the Paloma recipe was worked on and switched up by a whole host of fantastic bartenders and mixologists to create the Paloma that will fill all of our parks and festivals this summer. Something which includes fresh grapefruit, soda water, and a splash of lime to create a super refreshing drink for hot days. Sometimes the original isn’t always the best. Move over, Aperol Spritz, the Paloma is in town!

We might not be able to recreate the original Mexican Paloma, but the Paloma that we’ve got might even be better. Let us know what you think – and remember to tag us @thatssopapos or use our hashtag #thatssopapos if you add a photo to Instagram. Enjoy your drink of summer!

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