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3/4 view of a Spicy Paloma cocktail next to a wooden cutting board with a grapefruit and jalapeño on it.

Spicy Paloma Cocktail

This refreshing grapefruit and tequila cocktail has a little bit of kick to it.
Pitcher and mocktail directions are in the notes section.
Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword grapefruit, spicy, tequila
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
steeping time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 cocktails
Calories 250kcal


  • cocktail shaker


For the Jalapeño Simple Syrup (can be made up to 10 days ahead)

  • 1 large jalapeño thinly sliced, seeds reserved
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) brown sugar
  • 4 ounces (118 milliliters or 1/2 cup) cold water

For the Spicy Paloma Cocktail

  • 1 ounce (30 milliliters) lime juice
  • 2 ounces (60 milliliters) Jalapeño Simple Syrup (or to taste)
  • 4 ounces (120 milliliters) tequila blanco
  • 6 ounces (180 milliliters) grapefruit juice
  • grapefruit soda to float

To garnish:

  • kosher salt for rimming the glasses, optional
  • grapefruit slices fresh or dried, optional
  • jalapeño slices optional


Prepare the Jalapeño Simple Syrup

  • Add the jalapeño pepper slices and seeds to a small pot with the brown sugar. Add the cold water to the pot and stir everything together.
    Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring to dissolve the brown sugar. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the stove off.
  • Allow the peppers to infuse into the simple syrup for 15 minutes. 
    After the peppers have infused their flavor and heat into the simple syrup, strain them and the seeds away before discarding them. 
  • Allow the simple syrup to cool completely, then transfer it to a jar with a tight-fitting lid or a squeeze bottle with a cap.
    Store it in the fridge for up to 10 days. If you're making your cocktails right away feel free to leave it at room temperature.

Rim the Cocktail Glasses (Optional)

  • Use a wedge of grapefruit to moisten the sides of two highball glass. 
    Once it's wet, sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt where you rubbed the grapefruit. Set the glass aside to dry for 5 minutes, so the salt doesn't fall off when you handle the glass later. 
    Once the salt has dried to the glass, fill them half- to three-quarters of the way full with ice.

Mix the Spicy Paloma Cocktail

  • Fill a large cocktail shaker with a handful of ice.
    Next, add the lime juice, jalapeño simple syrup, tequila blanco, and grapefruit juice to the shaker. 
    Cap the cocktail shaker and give it a vigorous shake for 30 seconds. Stop shaking once the exterior of the cocktail shaker frosts over. 
  • Divide the spicy grapefruit base equally between your two ice-filled cocktail glasses. 
    Float as much or as little of the grapefruit soda into the glass and garnish as desired.
  • Enjoy your Spicy Paloma Cocktail responsibly.


Tips, Swaps, and Subs:

  • Use a serrano pepper, Thai chili, or habanero pepper instead of a jalapeño to make the spicy simple syrup
  • Replace the brown sugar with granulated sugar or turbinado sugar
  • The Jalapeño Simple Syrup can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 7-10 days
  • If you can't find Jarritos grapefruit soda, use Squirt, Fresca, or another grapefruit soda. If all else fails, you can replace the grapefruit soda with regular soda water.

Dried Grapefruit Slices (for garnishing):

  1. Place thinly sliced grapefruit rounds onto a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat.
  2. Bake the fruit in a 250°F (130°C) oven for 20 minutes, flipping once during the baking.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven once crisp and allow to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for 2 weeks.  
*You can also dehydrate the grapefruit slices for 10 hours (or overnight) in a food dehydrator.

Pitcher Paloma Instructions:

Jalapeño Simple Syrup
2 large jalapeños, sliced
8 ounces (227 grams) brown sugar
2 cups (473 milliliters) cold water
Paloma Mix
4 ounces (120 milliliters) lime juice
8 ounces (240 milliliters) Jalapeño Simple Syrup
16 ounces (480 milliliters) tequila blanco
24 ounces (720 milliliters) grapefruit juice
Grapefruit soda to float
  1. Prepare the jalapeño simple syrup as instructed, then allow to cool.
  2. In a large pitcher, stir together the lime juice, Jalapeño simple syrup, tequila blanco, grapefruit juice until combined.
  3. Store the pitcher in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
  4. Pour the base into ice-filled highball glasses and float as much of the soda as desired.
  5. Garnish as desired.

Spicy Paloma Mocktails:

  1. Omit the tequila from recipe and replace it with additional grapefruit soda. 

Original (non-spicy) Paloma Cocktails:

  1. Omit the Jalapeño Simple Syrup from the recipe. 


Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg