Paloma fans, listen up! You’re going to adore this Ginger Beer Paloma Cocktail made with fresh grapefruit juice and bubbly ginger beer. Perfect for a hot summer day, a relaxing night at home, or anything in between! And if you’re looking for an alcohol-free option, head to the bottom of the post for the zero-proof mocktail version.
There’s something special about the way Ruby Red grapefruit juice makes your mouth water. The tart citrus flavor is offset by just a touch of sweetness. One sip and I’m always ready for more! The nice thing about juice is that it’s “in season” all year round, unlike fresh grapefruit. And 100% fruit juice delivers many of the same nutrition benefits as fruit (minus the fiber).
So it’s high-time I start featuring my favorite juices in more recipes. And yes, smoothies (like this one with pomegranate juice) and salad dressings are obvious favorites. But I’m also a sucker for a fancy drink, so I’m excited to highlight my Ginger Beer Paloma Cocktail with fresh grapefruit juice!
Why You’ll Love This Ginger Beer Paloma Cocktail
Classic Palomas are one of the world’s favorite cocktails, hailing from Mexico and gaining popularity fast. I think you’ll really enjoy this variation!
- No fancy bartending skills needed! With just a cocktail shaker and a few simple ingredients, you can enjoy a top-shelf quality cocktail from your home bar.
- This is a fun twist on the classic paloma recipe, with juiced up flavor thanks to fresh citrus juice and ginger beer.
- Ginger beer belongs in more than just a copper mug! This paloma recipe is a great way to work through all the ginger beer you bought for Moscow mules.
Plus, it’s easy to make a mocktail (alcohol-free) version of this. Details on that can be found below the recipe card!
Ingredients You’ll Need
The classic Paloma cocktail typically includes tequila, grapefruit soda, lime juice, and sometimes a pinch of salt. It’s usually served over ice in a highball glass and garnished with a slice of grapefruit or lime.
This version of a Ginger Beer Paloma Cocktail uses a few slightly different ingredients:
- Fresh grapefruit juice
- Agave syrup (or agave nectar) or simple syrup
- Spicy ginger beer. I like the Cock & Bull brand for extra zesty flavor in bottles, but use any type of ginger beer your prefer.
- Tequila (blanco or reposado). We keep our home bar stocked with both options, but use either depending on what you have or prefer.
- Salt, sugar, or Tajin seasoning. This is optional for the rim of your serving glass.
- Grapefruit wedge for garnish. You can also garnish your glass with herbs like rosemary (used here), fresh mint, or thyme sprig
And while it’s ideal to use fresh juice, I know that’s not always an option. If needed, just swap the fresh squeezed juice for a bottled or store-bought version of 100% grapefruit juice. Click HERE to find a ready-to-shop list from Instacart!
If you’re using a juicer for your fresh grapefruit juice (instead of store-bought), you can intensify the ginger flavor by adding a knob of fresh ginger to the mix. This is totally optional, so adjust as needed to dial in the flavor to your liking! Likewise, if you prefer to use ginger ale instead of ginger beer, you can still enjoy some refreshing carbonation with a sweeter, less spicy option.
How to Make a Ginger Beer Paloma Cocktail
You need a few key things to make a great-tasting cocktail or mocktail: quality liquor, fresh juice, and nice ice.
But the reality is, a home bar might be more limited than the upscale cocktail bar that can source the best of the best. I admit, it would be really nice to carve off perfectly clear ice into a cocktail shaker every time, but I have a regular kitchen with a regular freezer, which makes regular ice cubes. It seems to work out just fine, but if you want to invest in different ice trays or source ice specifically for mixing drinks, go for it!
Otherwise, start with a ripe, tart grapefruit. I share more selection tips in my post about Fresh Florida Citrus, but find one that feels heavy for its size. While testing this Ginger Beer Paloma recipe, I found the average grapefruit yields about 8 ounces of juice, give or take a little. You only need three ounces for this drink, so you can serve up another glass for someone else or save the remaining juice in the fridge. Before juicing, you can slice off a wedge for garnish.
After that, just follow these simple steps to shake up a delicious paloma cocktail:
- Measure the grapefruit juice and add it to a cocktail shaker, along with the tequila and agave syrup.
- Add ice to a tall glass before filling the cocktail shaker with ice. Seal and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds until chilled and well-mixed. Pour through a strainer, over ice, in your serving glass.
- Top with ginger beer and garnish with a slice or wedge of grapefruit and sprig of fresh herbs (if using). Serve immediately and enjoy responsibly!
Street Smart Nutrition Tip: If you like a salted or sugared rim, you can rim the top of your serving glass by wiping it with a wedge of lime of grapefruit and dusting it. Tajin adds even more flavor. Or, you can add a pinch of salt to the cocktail shaker before shaking the drink mix to balance the flavors in each sip.
While I think this Ginger Beer Paloma Cocktail is perfect as is, there’s also room for personalizing your drink! Try topping with club soda, tonic, or a grapefruit flavored sparkling water or soda like Squirt or Fresca.
Mix up the garnishes and see how it changes the scent or flavor of your drink. According to The Flavor Bible (my go-to resource for flavor pairings!), grapefruit pairs well with mint, lemon, lime, orange, and even pineapple. Are you imagining all the ways you can use up the odds and ends of other types of fruit?
You can also prepare a large batch for your next party or gathering. Just mix all ingredients except the ginger beer, which you can place nearby to allow your guests to top off their glasses. Keep the same ratios of grapefruit juice to tequila and sweetener: 3 parts juice, 2 parts tequila, and 1/2 part sweetener. Be sure take into account that dilution rates will differ if you aren’t chilling it fully before adding ice to individual glasses.
With that, I think you’re ready to mix up one of the best ginger beer cocktails you’ve ever tasted!
Ginger Beer Paloma Cocktail
- Boston shaker or cocktail shaker
- hand juicer or juicing machine
- 3 oz fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 oz tequila, blanco or reposado
- 1/2 oz agave syrup
- ice, for shaking and serving
- 4-6 oz ginger beer
- fresh rosemary, mint, or thyme, optional
- Prepare the fresh grapefruit juice using a hand juicer or juicing machine. Measure 3 fl oz and add to a cocktail shaker. At this time, you can also cut a slice or wedge of grapefruit for garnish (optional).
- Add the tequila and agave syrup to the shaker. Add a pinch of salt (optional) if not salting the rim of your serving glass.
- Add ice to your serving glass before filling the cocktail shaker with ice. Seal and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds until chilled and well-mixed. Pour through a strainer, over ice, in your serving glass.
- Top with ginger beer and garnish with a slice or wedge of grapefruit and sprig of fresh herbs (if using). Serve immediately and enjoy responsibly.
Ginger Beer Paloma Mocktail (Zero-Proof Version)
If you’re limiting or avoiding alcohol for any reason, you can still enjoy this Ginger Beer Paloma recipe! It easily becomes a mocktail (nonalcoholic cocktail) by skipping the tequila. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, using 1/2 to 1 ounce from a fresh lime if possible.
And most great drink mixes are based on volume, so simply pulling out two ounces worth of tequila won’t necessarily leave you with a balanced mocktail. You can try additional fresh grapefruit juice or extra ginger beer to make up for the difference. Club soda or tonic water is another option for carbonation if you enjoy sparkling, bubbly drinks. And while I haven’t personally tried this option, you can also try infusing ginger into your simple syrup to further amp up the ginger flavor.
Street Smart Nutrition Tip: If you need a completely alcohol-free drink, replace the ginger beer with ginger ale. Ginger beer is about 0.5% alcohol by volume, which is low enough for it to be considered nonalcoholic. However, if you drink a lot of it, that might add up! Refer to my post about calculating standard drinks and standard drink equivalents if you’re curious about this.
I hope you enjoy this Ginger Beer Paloma Cocktail. And mocktail! It’s such a refreshing drink to kick back with. If you try it and like it, let me know by leaving a comment or rating. I’d love to know what you think!
And as always, thanks for stopping by the Street Smart Nutrition blog! You can find more and follow along on Instagram and YouTube, and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so you never miss a new post. Cheers to more fearlessly nourishing meals!