Give a classic Paloma cocktail a spicy makeover with this jalapeno-infused version. Made with homemade spicy simple syrup, grapefruit juice, and silver tequila.

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Side view of a spicy Paloma cocktail, decorated with rim garnish, a grapefruit slice, and sliced jalapenos. Surrounded by more drinks and sliced fruit.

About Spicy Paloma Cocktail

If you’re a fan of Paloma cocktails then you’re guaranteed to love this sweet-and-spicy version. It has all your favorite flavors of the original drink (grapefruit, lime, tequila) but it’s kicked up a notch with spicy rim garnish and infused with the heat of jalapenos.

What’s in a spicy paloma cocktail?

To make a deliciously spicy paloma cocktail, there’s a little bit of preparation involved and some optional parts:

1 – Spicy Simple Syrup – A custom simple syrup that’s made with other class Paloma flavors, this is where most of the heat in the drink comes from. You can also purchase spicy simple syrup instead if you’d rather not make it yourself. However, I do not recommend substituting this for plain simple syrup as it will take the “spicy” out of this spicy Paloma cocktail.

  • Grapefruit juice – The benefit of making your own simple syrup is that you can customize to the drink, and grapefruit is a must-have flavor in any Paloma cocktail.
  • Sliced jalapeno – To give this sauce some kick.
  • Lime juice – To keep with the classic Paloma theme.
  • Sugar – Because every simple syrup needs some sweetness.

2 – Spicy Rim Garnish – This is technically optional, but it helps give this cocktail a little more kick and a pretty presentation.

  • Ancho chili powder – Where the heat comes from.
  • Coarse sea salt – Because it pairs so well with tequila. You can use any type of salt that you’d like, but the coarse is great for texture.
  • Sugar – To make it a sweet-and-spicy heat.

3 – Spicy Paloma Cocktail – Now to make the drink and bring everything together.

  • Spicy Rim Garnish – As prepared above.
  • Lime juice – For decorating the rim of the glass.
  • Grapefruit juice – Classic Paloma cocktail flavor.
  • Silver tequila – Also called tequila blanco, this is the only alcohol in the drink.
  • Spicy Simple Syrup – As prepared above.
  • Grapefruit soda – For more grapefruit flavor and some bubbles.
  • Grapefruit slices, lime slices, sliced jalapenos – For pretty garnish.
Top down view of a spicy Paloma cocktail on a wooden board, showing off sliced jalapeno garnish sitting on top of ice.

Which tequila should you use?

This recipe calls for silver tequila (also called tequila blanco), with the main characteristic being that it’s completely clear, like vodka or water. It’s a type of tequila that’s bottled directly after being distilled, so it is rarely aged.

As far as what to look for, any silver tequila between the $20-$40 range should be a good fit for this drink. An opened bottle of tequila can last up to a year, so you have plenty of time to make use of the rest of the bottle.

For mixed drinks like this, I personally like to use Patron. It’s a decent tequila with a taste that compliments most mixed drinks. Plus, you can usually find a bottle of it in just the size that you need.

How many limes do you need?

You can use storebought lime juice for this cocktail, but it will taste even better when made with freshly squeezed fruit.

You should be able to get enough juice from two medium limes.

How many grapefruits do you need?

As with the lime juice, storebought is an option, but fresh juice tends to taste a little bit better.

You should be able to get enough juice for this recipe (for the syrup and the drink) from two medium to large grapefruits.

Can you make this drink in advance?

Technically, yes, you can – but with some adjustments:

  • For best results, mix the grapefruit juice, silver tequila, and prepared simple syrup together by themselves (no ice) and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve (up to 24 hours).
  • When ready to drink, add ice to a glass and then pour the mixed drink on top. Finish by topping off the glass with grapefruit sod.

If you’re making a large pitcher of this spicy Paloma cocktail (be sure to see other notes on this page about this) you would follow the same steps: mix the three main ingredients, store it without ice for up to 24 hours, and then serve with grapefruit juice.

Side view of two spicy Paloma cocktails with a large pitcher in the background, showing off the front drink with a grapefruit slice visible through the orange hue of the drink.

Can you make a big batch of Paloma cocktail?

Yes! There are no special “effects” with this drink (such as layering, gradients, etc) so it’s perfectly safe to mix this drink and serve it in a big batch.

And in order to make a big batch, all you need to do is measure this drink in parts.

Recipes that measure in parts usually mean it’s written so that you can adjust the size of the drink to whatever you want. The measurements they give you (1 part, 1/2 part, etc) are so you can keep the ratio of the ingredients correct.

For example, let’s say you wanted to make one drink – this typically means you’re using 1 standard shot glass for measuring. So then when the recipe says “1 part” you would interpret that amount as “1 standard shot glass” full. If the recipe says “1/2 part” you’d fill the shot glass halfway so that it’s “1/2 standard shot glass.” OR, let’s say you wanted to make enough drinks for a few friends. When making the drink you could interpret “1 part” as “1 cup” (or “1/2 part” to “1/2 cup.”)

Given the above, to measure a spicy Paloma cocktail in parts, you would need:

  • 2 parts tequila
  • 3 parts grapefruit juice
  • 1 part spicy simple syrup
  • 1 parts grapefruit soda
  • Enough Spicy Rim Garnish and lime juice to decorate each glass served.
  • Ice and garnishes per glasses (such as grapefruit slices, lime slices, and sliced jalapenos).

Notes & tips for making a spicy paloma

  • When serving this drink, wine glasses (with stems or without) or whisky glasses work very well!
  • For a less sweet and intense grapefruit flavor, substitute the grapefruit soda for sparkling water.
  • Whenever you are preparing jalapenos, be sure that you are wearing food safety gloves while handling them and avoid any contact with your eyes while you work. Also, you have a crucial choice to make: to include the jalapeno seeds or remove them. The seeds are where this pepper gets its trademark fire, so only include them if you want the extra kick. For a full tutorial on cutting jalapeno peppers, check this out: How to Cut a Jalapeno Pepper the Right Way.
Very close up top down view of a spicy Paloma cocktail, showing off grapefruit slice within the drink.

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How to make a spicy Paloma cocktail

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Prepare the Spicy Simple Syrup by bringing grapefruit juice, sliced jalapenos, and lime juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk in the sugar until dissolved, then let the sauce simmer for a while. When done, strain the syrup into a cup or jar and discard any solids. Let the syrup cool completely before using.

Step 2 – Prepare the Spicy Rim Garnish by mixing together ancho chili powder, coarse sea salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Set it aside for now.

Step 3 – Place the Spicy Rim Garnish on a small plate (or in a bowl). Wet the rim of a short glass with lime juice, then dip the rim in the garnish, giving the glass a decorative coating along the rim.

Step 4 – Fill the glass halfway with ice. If you’d like, decorate it with slices of grapefruit or lime.

Step 5 – In a cocktail shaker full of ice, add the grapefruit juice, silver tequila, and Spicy Simple Syrup. Shake it up until combined.

Step 6 – Pour the cocktail mix into the prepared glass, then top it off with grapefruit soda. Garnish the top with a few jalapeno slices.

Step 7 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Side view of a spicy Paloma cocktail, decorated with rim garnish, a grapefruit slice, and sliced jalapenos. Surrounded by more drinks and sliced fruit.
5 from 1 vote

Spicy Paloma

10 mins prep + 30 mins cook
294 kcal
Yields: 1 drink
Give a classic Paloma cocktail a spicy makeover with this jalapeno-infused version. Made with homemade spicy simple syrup, grapefruit juice, and silver tequila.

Ingredients 

Spicy Simple Syrup
Spicy Rim Garnish (Optional)
Spicy Paloma Cocktail

Instructions

For the Spicy Simple Syrup
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the grapefruit juice, jalapeno, and lime juice. Bring to a boil.
    1 cup grapefruit juice, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 jalapeno
  • Whisk mixture and slowly pour in sugar. Continue to mix until sugar has dissolved.
    1 cup granulated sugar
  • Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Pour mixture through a mesh strainer into a jar or cup; discard jalapenos and any solids caught by strainer.
  • Let cool completely before using.
For the Spicy Rim Garnish
  • In a small bowl, mix together ancho chili powder, sea salt, and sugar until combined.
    1 teaspoon ancho chili powder, 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Set rim garnish aside until ready to use.
For the Spicy Paloma Cocktail
  • On a small plate, add prepared spicy rim garnish. Use 1 tablespoon of lime juice to wet the rim of a short glass, then gently dab the top of the glass in the rim garnish, coating the rim.
    1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Fill the glass halfway with ice. If desired, decorate inside of glass with grapefruit or lime slices.
    grapefruit slices, lime slices
  • Combine grapefruit juice, tequila, and prepared spicy simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until combined.
    2 ounces silver tequila, 3 ounces grapefruit juice, 1 ounce spicy simple syrup
  • Remove lid of cocktail shaker and stir in grapefruit soda.
    2 ounces grapefruit soda
  • Pour mixture into prepared glasses. Garnish top with jalapeno slices (optional).
    sliced jalapeno
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1drink | Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2383mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 606IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy