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This drink has it all! The Mezcal Paloma is sweet, tangy, and smoky, pairing grapefruit and lime with just a hint of mezcal.

Mezcal paloma

Looking for a signature drink that’s sweet, tart, salty, and smoky all at once? Meet the Mezcal Paloma. This cocktail has everything you need in a drink. The sweetness of grapefruit juice contrasts the tart lime and bubbly soda water. Top it off with a background smokiness of mezcal and a salt rim, and it couldn’t be more fun. This spin on the Mexican Paloma is definitely worth adding to your collection: especially if you’re a mezcal fan. (Which we are, over here!) Here’s what you need to know.

What’s in a mezcal Paloma?

This mezcal Paloma is a spin on the classic Paloma, a popular cocktail in Mexico. Paloma means “dove” in Spanish. The history behind how it got the name and when it was invented it a little murky. It’s likely it was a more recent invention because a classic Paloma is just two ingredients: tequila and grapefruit soda. And grapefruit soda was invented in 1938.

Many Paloma recipes use grapefruit juice, simple syrup and soda water as an all-natural stand in for the grapefruit soda. That’s what we’ve done here! Combine this with lime, tequila and mezcal, and you’ve got your drink. The ingredients in a mezcal Paloma are:


Use both mezcal and tequila for balance

This mezcal Paloma recipe doesn’t replace the tequila with mezcal. Mezcal is so strong, that you need some tequila to balance it! This recipe uses 1 ½ ounces tequila with ½ ounce of mezcal. The mezcal is just enough to add a smoky nuance, but not so much that it overpowers the drink. If you like very mezcal forward drinks, you could add a splash more: just don’t let it cover up the delicate grapefruit flavor.

What exactly is mezcal?

So what is mezcal? Mezcal is a type of alcohol made from the agave plant (like tequila). Here’s a fun fact: tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. Only one type of agave plant (blue agave) makes tequila, but mezcal can be made from 11 different varieties of agave. What gives mezcal its signature smoky flavor is cooking the agave in pits in the ground. It brings a depth and smokiness you don’t find in tequila.

Mezcal paloma

How to make a mezcal Paloma (3 basic steps!)

A mezcal Paloma is easy to make: you don’t even need a cocktail shaker! Most of the time involved is juicing the citrus. If you prefer, you can use bottled grapefruit juice, but fresh squeezed tastes better. Here’s what to do:

  1. Rim the glass with salt. The salt enhances the overall flavor of the drink.
  2. Stir tequila, mezcal grapefruit, lime and syrup in the glass. This cocktail is so simple, you don’t even need to dirty up a cocktail shaker! Mix it all together in the glass.
  3. Add ice and top with soda water. Fill the glass with ice and top with soda water. A grapefruit wedge makes a nice garnish!

More mezcal cocktails

Love the smokiness of mezcal? There are lots of tasty mezcal cocktails you can mix up: many of them smoky spins on the classics:

How to make a mezcal Paloma

When to serve a mezcal Paloma

The mezcal mule is tangy with a smoky bite on the finish. Whereas a typical Paloma can seem like an afternoon-style drink, mezcal brings it solidly into cocktail houer. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Summer drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Mezcal paloma

Best Mezcal Paloma

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


This drink has it all! The Mezcal Paloma is sweet, tangy, and smoky, pairing grapefruit and lime with just a hint of mezcal.


  • 1 ½ ounces tequila blanco
  • ½ ounce mezcal
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) simple syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) soda water
  • Flaky sea salt & grapefruit wedge, for the garnish


  1. Cut a notch in the grapefruit wedge, then run the grapefruit around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt.
  2. To the glass, add the tequila, mezcal, grapefruit juice, lime juice, syrup and stir until combined.
  3. Fill the glass with ice (clear ice if you want to get fancy!). Top with soda water and serve!



  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Mezcal paloma

More Mexican style cocktails

There are lots of cocktails that give a Mexican style upgrade to the classic drink. Here are a few more Mexican style cocktails:

  • Mexican Mule A tequila-based spin on the classic Moscow mule: perhaps even better than the original!
  • Michelada A spicy Mexican beer cocktail made with tomato juice, lime, and hot sauce.
  • Classic Chelada A tangy Mexican beer cocktail that’s easy and refreshing!
  • Mexican Martini Love martinis and margaritas? Now you don’t have to choose.
  • Ranch Water A Texas-style tequila highball drink made with lime, tequila and Topo Chico! This bubbly cocktail is all about cooling off on hot days.
  • Bloody Maria Swap out the vodka in a Bloody Mary for tequila, and you’ve got the Bloody Maria!

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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