la paloma

by jenna on January 23, 2012

So, remember when I was saying last week how I’m incredibly socially awkward at bars, never know what to order and end up with an icky rum and coke and a headache?


It all started when we were in Austin over New Years and ate at the fabulous Justine’s Brasserie. We were with our friends, Morgan and Stephen, and since they don’t take reservations, we opted to hang out at the bar until our table was ready. (sidenote: they quoted us an hour and a half wait and it ended up only being twenty minutes <—go there!). Well, the thing about Justine’s is that on top of their wonderful French food, they have probably the most amazing bar and cocktail list that I’ve ever seen. Let’s just say it was waaaaay too cool for me. When it was my turn to order a drink, I almost froze like usual. Maybe I should just order a safe glass of red wine, I thought to myself. However, I was wearing white at the time. So instead, I decided to just pick a totally random cocktail from the list and go with it. I think it was called “L’Enfants Dangerous” or something along those lines.

Long story short, they gave me the wrong drink! Instead of the dangerous child that I had ordered, I got my very first La Paloma—a fizzy, grapefruity tequila cocktail.

It was love at first sip.

Flash forward three weeks. I’m at a bar in San Francisco with Adam and one of my best friends from childhood, John. I see a La Paloma on their cocktail list and then I remember Justine’s…and the dangerous child that wasn’t to be….and…..that’s it. Everything post La Paloma that night is a little fuzzy.

If you like grapefruit, this drinks for you! It’s kinda like a margarita minus the triple sec. Personally, I find it a little more refreshing.

I promise I’ll post recipes for actual FOOD soon. Sorry, I’ve just been rather….thirsty.

La Paloma

makes one mason-jar sized cocktail

Print this recipe!


1/2 lime, juiced

tiny pinch salt

1/4 cup tequila

1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (from about one large grapefruit)

1 1/2 cups sparkling water

1 tbsp simple syrup, optional (or agave nectar)


Mix all ingredients. Serve over ice.

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 23, 2012 at 3:52 am

Oh this looks so good. Even if it’s early on a Monday morning, I figure it’s after 5pm on a Friday afternoon somewhere. Or not. And that’s okay too :)

I hope you had a great weekend yoga’ing it up!


Liz January 23, 2012 at 7:45 am

It IS after 5 pm on Friday … just a couple days after…. right? Besides, it definitely IS after 5 pm on a Monday somewhere, and that works.

I lovethe mason jar. It is at once hip and hick. :-)


Erika - The Teenage Taste January 23, 2012 at 4:05 am

Sounds like a fabulous drink! I am in love of that picture with the grapefruit and lime halves. So pretty and vibrant! 😀


Janna January 23, 2012 at 4:07 am

That looks incredible. Even at 7am.


Katrina January 23, 2012 at 4:22 am

haha I always seem to order the same drink too! This sounds lovely. I’ll need to try it soon :)


LisaBona January 23, 2012 at 4:36 am

This is my fave summer drink! Your recipe is the way to go BUT in case of emergency (and you’re ok with an occasional diet soda) Fresca and Tequila (white) makes a great Paloma. Just make sure it’s original grapefruit Fresca and not the other flavors. Squeeze of lime if you have it.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 23, 2012 at 5:02 am

Hehe nothing like a little boozing to kick off a Monday morning! 😉


Em (Wine and Butter) January 23, 2012 at 5:04 am

I love margaritas AND grapefruit!! AND cocktails full stop!


Joelle (on a pink typewriter) January 23, 2012 at 5:07 am

Yum!! I’m going to try this when I go visit my boyfriend in a couple weeks.. He will love anything Austin inspired. 😉


kathleen @ the daily crumb January 23, 2012 at 5:11 am

nothing like some tequila on a monday morning! who needs food?!


Molly @ RDexposed January 23, 2012 at 5:28 am

I need that photo of the grapefruit and kiwi slices printed on a canvas and hung on my wall!


angie January 23, 2012 at 5:38 am

Love Justine’s! It’s one of mine and my boyfriend’s favorites. Next time you’re in town, check out Papi Tino’s on E. 6th. Converted house, rustic /vintage feel, candlelit, live music, indoor and outdoor seating–similar vibe to Justine’s but a little more intimate. Head to the bar and order the Pink Bowtie. You’ll love me forever. :)


Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life January 23, 2012 at 5:47 am

delish!! def trying this next weekend!


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 23, 2012 at 5:50 am

Happy Monday for sure! Haha love it :)


jenna January 23, 2012 at 6:01 am

sounds refreshing and i love the pretty pink color! :)


anna January 23, 2012 at 6:08 am

These are my absolute favorite! Fresca works well in these, too!


Marina January 23, 2012 at 6:19 am

I don’t know about Friday somewhere but I am ready to start my Monday with it! Grapefruit is my favorite!


Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous January 23, 2012 at 6:27 am

I’m not much of a tequila drinker, but it does sound refreshing! Glad you found your go-to cocktail.


Cait's Plate January 23, 2012 at 6:33 am

I’ve never heard of a La Paloma but I definitely think I could be on board! I LOVE the photo of the limes and the grapefruits laid out. Absolutely stunning.


Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 23, 2012 at 6:43 am

I’m loving these drinks your posting!


Leslie Means @ Her View From Home January 23, 2012 at 6:51 am

YUM! Now I wish it was summer. :)


Urban Wife January 23, 2012 at 6:53 am

Those grapefruits look amazing! And yea, I’m another awkward girl at the bar. The girl that always orders a mojito, that’s me.


Elizabeth @ Chronic Venture January 23, 2012 at 6:53 am

looks so yummy! especially with that guacamole!


Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] January 23, 2012 at 7:11 am

holy yummerz! i love the PINK 😉


Melissa January 23, 2012 at 7:16 am

HATE tequila but this looks amazing. I wonder what it would taste like with vodka… kind of like a grapefruit vodkarita. Hm. Or maybe a grapefruit mojito?


Rachel January 23, 2012 at 7:18 am

That second photo is just incredible!

And the las palomas sound delicious.


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 23, 2012 at 7:23 am

While this drink sounds absolutely delicious, I have a thing with the word “paloma”. My mom is obsessed with the name and was going to name my younger brother that if he was a girl. I know it means dove and that’s pretty and all, but I just think the name/word itself is so ugly and I count my lucky stars she didn’t think of it until 2 years after I was born otherwise that would’ve likely been my name. I just think of some old, gray haired lady every time I hear it. haha


Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 23, 2012 at 11:33 am

this cracked me up.


Missy January 23, 2012 at 7:27 am

I love grapefruit drinks and living in Arizona we have lots of grapefruit.
I like how this only makes one drink, so simple. Thanks for another great recipe.


Ida January 23, 2012 at 7:30 am

I love palomas! I usually just mix tequila and fresca for a lazy version. Yours looks worth the extra effort, maybe I’ll make some for the super bowl!


Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño January 23, 2012 at 7:30 am

This sounds so refreshing and delicious… plus I love the fresh squeezed juice and the sparkling water. Nicely done!!!


Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy January 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

Yum! This looks delicious! I am the same way I never know what to order at a bar!


DessertForTwo January 23, 2012 at 7:51 am

My ruby red grapefruit tree made fruit for the first time this year! I can’t wait to make these with the fruit!


Molly January 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

I’ve been looking for a good grapefruit cocktail. The ones I’ve made have all been pretty bad/uninspired. Can’t wait to try!


Nicole @ Giraffelegs January 23, 2012 at 7:55 am

mhmm grapefruit..good choice!


ash January 23, 2012 at 8:08 am

What a great drink recipe!!! I often do the same thing- order a rum and coke or rum and sprite, and wish I had something else-something a little sweeter! Have a great Monday Jenna!


Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove January 23, 2012 at 8:25 am

Count me in for anything that is reminiscent of a margarita! I can’t wait to try making this drink!


Sonia the Mexigarian January 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

I knew we shouldn’t have finished off our Tequila last Friday! Ah well, time to buy more :) These actually look refreshing and very well suited for spring and summer weather.


Cat @Breakfast to Bed January 23, 2012 at 8:32 am

ooohhhhweee! a 2oz pour! I’ll love this one!


erin January 23, 2012 at 8:57 am

Are you like Julia Roberts in My Best Friends Wedding…they find out you are a food writer and seat you right away?! I think so! :) drink looks awesome!


jenna January 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

Ummm I wish!


jenna k January 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

yum! i’ve been wanting a grapefruit lately, and i’ve def been curious about grapefruit juice in cocktails. might just have to drop by the grocery store today!


Laura @ She Eats Well January 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

This looks so yummy and refreshing. If I drink it will it make the rain go away and Summer come back….?


erin @WELL in L.A. January 23, 2012 at 9:53 am

Photos!! I love the vibrant slices of citrus – simply stunning! There’s a great drink at a speak-easy in Los Angeles (if you find yourself in the southern half of the state) that incorporates gin, grapefruit and ginger. One of my favorites! Going to try La Paloma – thank you for sharing.


Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic January 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

I’ve never heard of a La Paloma but this sounds like something I would also fall in love with at first sip! I am obsessed with grapefruit… and tequila :)


Deanna B. January 23, 2012 at 10:46 am

Huzzah! You found a drink! And now I want want before 11 am on a Monday. I shall resist, but only till 5.


islandrunnergirl January 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

When I lived in Mexico back in the late 1990’s, the “in” drink was always tequila mixed with grapefruit soda. This sounds like it was inspired by that combination, but it sounds a lot more refreshing! It might even convince me to try tequila again!


Moni'sMeals January 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

this is great. I will remember this for the weekend coming up! (or maybe tonight..wink-wink)


Kiran @ January 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

Aaahhh… that looks so refreshing! It’s hot here in Florida.. Need to chug down some la paloma or sangria for that matter 😉


Kristin @ FoodFash January 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

I’m moving to Austin on the 10th, so I’ll have to check out Justine’s Brasserie upon my arrival!


Julia January 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

This looks so beautiful and refreshing! Definitely makes me wish I was relaxing on a beach instead of cuddled under blankets trying to stay warm :)


Candy (Healthy in Candy Land) January 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

I think this is the exact drink I have been searching for! I never know what to order either, but I recently discovered I have a thing for tequila. And grapefruit! I just posted a recipe today using grapefruit and cannot get enough of it. I could just hug you for posting this. But then, that would be a little too weird, and a little too much excitement over an alcoholic beverage. (Sorry, I don’t get out much.) But thank you!


danielle January 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Sounds delicious!! and easy!


Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I absolutely love grapefruit! Looks delicious!


Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner January 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Oh my, this looks amazing!! I just happen to have all the ingredients too… so I’m tempted!


Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe January 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Wow. I’ll take two, please and thank you. :)


Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out January 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Oh. My. Goodness!

One of my favorite things is vodka and grapefruit juice, but I also quite enjoy a good margarita…this is like the perfect marriage of the two. I could use one right now (and it is only 3 pm…)


Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs January 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

This sounds delicious! If only it was the weekend so I could make a big batch and drink it all :)


Hannah January 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Looks delish! I love the pink & green pic! Grapefruit and limes are so flavorful and juicy! I have no issues with finding drink recipes here- it’s like surprise, that’s what I can make this weekend!
Side note: I made your chicken tortilla soup this past weekend for friends (left out hominy because some of them are scared-ies), and it was wonderful! YUM YUM!


Tara@Sugar Spice and Bacon January 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Grapefruit juice cocktails are my favorite! I love the addition of sparkling water…so fancy! :)


Margaret January 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I love Justine’s. I’m only sorry that you didn’t have a longer wait to take advantage of the cute park benches that are best enjoyed with a bottle of wine and some not-so-strangers waiting on their table too. I saw your post about Dry Creek Kitchen and I like it too! I was in Healdsberg for the first time in December and we wound up there after asking the locals, wandeing around the square and not being able to get reservations at our first choice. We waite in the hotel lounge listening to some Jazz and enjoying some wine, and were pleasantly surprised by their food, as well as the champagne cocktials some locals we met earlier sent over to our table. (We had just gotten engaged!) All in all, it was a charming experience.


Liz January 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Just a tip if you don’t have fresh in-season grapefruit and/or don’t want the hassle of squeezing it yourself…

Simply Grapefruit juice is the best store-bought grapefruit juice I have found. I’d probably use that, and the fresh lime juicethe recipe calls for.

Of course you can also have a Salty Dog, which is like a screwdriver, but with grapefruit juice, and salt around the rim. Unfortunately, ordered at most bars you’d probably get that shelf-stable boxes graprefruit juice.


Margarita January 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I’m not a big cocktail drinker… I never know what to order, so I just go for a good dark beer.
This looks good: very few ingredients = easy to make!!!
Can’t wait to try it! :)


Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts January 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

This sounds like a very refreshing cocktail. I love being able to actually know what to order out, I never have a clue!


Kate S. January 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Oh my goodness, this is my FAVORITE drink, yet nobody else seems to know what it is! It’s so delicious! Spread the word, sister.


Rachael @ FreshlyMinted January 24, 2012 at 5:12 am

This sounds perfect!

I’m also totally un-bar-savvy. I go safe, or go with something I hate (who even really LIKES cranberry and vodka?!).

I’ll be one of the cool kids now. As soon as I can say ” la paloma” without getting tongue-tied. That “l” is tricky.


Pushpa@Taste as you Cook January 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm

What a beautiful color to the delicious drink.


Cathy @ Savory Notes January 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm

My BF is the SAME way. He panics and his “go-to” answer is a Rum&Coke. When we were in Mexico, a bartender made this for him, and he fell in looooove with it. Such a great drink!


Joanne (Inspired Taste) January 25, 2012 at 6:42 am

This sounds so good! I love the combo of lime and grapefruit. Thanks for sharing :)


Paige January 28, 2012 at 9:43 am

I went to Justine’s Brasserie with a friend last night and ordered a La Paloma (after reading your post, I knew what I had to do.) It was awesome. That place is one of the few in Austin where I would gladly wait 1.5 hours for a table and some Ratatouille.


Carissa @ ChoiceSustenance February 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Oh my goodness that sounds amazing!!!!! What’s not to love with lime, tequila & grapefruit?


Sando @ the daily deelight April 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm

OMgosh this look gooood! Margaritas + grapefruit…I think I’ve died and gone to custom-cocktail-heaven!! I’m the same way when I go to a bar. And I’m an ex bartender!! This sounds perfect though! Thanks for sharing :)


Laura S April 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm

OMG this looks so yummy! I can’t stand margaritas – they’re too sour and salty and tart – but this looks DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing! :)
– Laura


Julie February 22, 2013 at 11:04 am

Okay – I’m making these tomorrow night for my girlfriends – a Mexican themed get-together to welcome spring (even though it’s snowing!). I’m sure this drink will please everyone!


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