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Easy Tequila and Squirt Paloma Drink (AKA The Poor Man’s Margarita)

This super easy paloma drink recipe is made with tequila and Squirt grapefruit soda, a squeeze of lime juice, and a pinch of salt. If you’re wondering what to mix with tequila, HERE’S your answer… Sometimes called a poor man’s margarita, these simple tequila drinks are inexpensive and delicious!

paloma drink made with squirt and tequila in a glass rimmed with salt
Dr Pepper Snapple Group® sponsored this post. All opinions are mine and mine alone.

The Best Paloma Recipe

When it comes to mixed drinks, a classic margarita has always been my cocktail of choice — on the rocks with salt, please and thank you! But here’s the thing, I’ve never been very successful at making margaritas at home.

Those store bought margarita drink mixes? Yeah, they’re waayyy too sweet for my taste… And I’ve tried making my own homemade margarita mix, but 1) it tastes different every time because the quality and acidity of the limes can vary so much, and 2) limes keep going up, up, up in price, making it kind of expensive to experiment.

A few years ago, I mentioned my struggles to a friend and that I was on the hunt for new tequila drink recipes. He suggested that I try a paloma cocktail. Now, palomas weren’t even on my radar at the time, so I asked for details (of course!)…

What’s A Paloma?

What IS a paloma? And what’s IN a paloma??? In his words: the most common paloma recipe is not fussy or complicated. It’s a simple cocktail with a fruity profile that’s made with grapefruit soda, white tequila, a squeeze of lime juice, and a little salt.

Sounds pretty freaking good to me! I’m game for a paloma drink… So grapefruit soda is the best soda to mix with tequila? You mean like Squirt soda?!?

He said yep, Squirt is what’s used most often in the classic recipe. Jarritos grapefruit soda is another great choice for a tequila soda, though it’s not as easy to find in the United States.

So I tried one, and it was pretty much LOVE AT FIRST SIP… And that’s the story of how my drink of choice became palomas — or as I like to call them, the poor man’s margarita. You know, because these tequila cocktails with Squirt are SO cheap to make!

tequila and squirt palomas recipe in glasses rimmed with salt with cans of squirt drink

Easy Tequila and Squirt Palomas Drink

Surprisingly, he also went on to tell me about how palomas are actually THE most popular mixed drinks with tequila in Mexico. Wait, WHAT?!? I would have surely guessed the most popular cocktails would be margaritas… Wouldn’t you?

It’s true, though!! But you probably won’t find a classic Mexican paloma listed on a bar menu in Mexico. Instead they’re more likely to be found at relaxed social gatherings, where bottles of tequila and Squirt soda are scattered on tables for self-service tequila cocktails. #mykindofparty

Which is why this easy tequila cocktail has totally become my favorite drink to serve when entertaining guests.

And with good reason! I mean, as tequila mixed drinks go, this basic paloma cocktail recipe has got EVERYTHING going for it: it’s easy to make, inexpensive (if you drink Squirt you know a 2-liter is, what, a dollar at Walmart?!), and guests LOVE it.

As you know, I’m ALL about keeping it simple when entertaining. I mean, I enjoy attending fancy and elegant gatherings, but I don’t really enjoy hosting them. For me, simple just means more FUN!

One of the best things about this easy cocktail recipe is that I can actually spend time hanging out with my guests, instead of dashing around the kitchen like a mad woman pouring drinks all night.

Case In Point For Easy Entertaining

Every year we host a HUGE New Year’s Eve bash. Basically, all of our friends AND their kids are invited — because, as you know if you have kids, going out on New Year’s is kind of iffy…

In recent years it’s kind of morphed into a giant pajama party! Adults and kids alike show up in their fave jammies, we all hang out for the night, and then after midnight, everyone heads out all ready to go straight to bed once they get home. Pretty ingenious if you ask me!

AND it’s the perfect excuse to sip palomas in my flannel PJs. TOTALLY one of the best ways to start the New Year off right!!

how to make a paloma drink with tequila and squirt in a glass rimmed with salt and cans of squirt drink

How To Make A Paloma Drink

We keep the food and drinks pretty simple, too. Over the years, we’ve settled on the best way to do this is to have each guest bring an appetizer or dessert. Then we provide pizzas and supply the drinks — water and juice boxes for the kids + beer, wine, and palomas for the adults.

At this point I may just have to buy stock in Squirt — I think we’ve converted just about ALL of our friends to drinking this simple tequila mixed drink at this point. Especially since once I show them how easy this refreshing cocktail is to make, they can keep their cups filled on their own all night long.

Just one more reason why I think these palomas are the BEST tequila cocktail!

How To Make Palomas

  • one part white tequila
  • three parts Squirt soda soft drink
  • a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • a heavy pinch of flaky sea salt (or kosher salt, if that’s all you have on hand)
  • all over LOTS of fresh ice

This is my uncomplicated perfect paloma recipe — at its core, it’s simply a little tequila and Squirt. Just stir the paloma ingredients in a highball glass and enjoy! You don’t even need to pull out your cocktail shaker…

Of course, you CAN dress up this paloma mixed drink, if you’d like. A great way is with a bit of salt on the rim of your glass. Or try adding some fresh grapefruit juice or a grapefruit wedge to enhance the grapefruit flavor profile.

Our local Mexican restaurant amps up the citrus flavors by serving them in a tall glass rimmed with Tajín seasoning, garnished with a lime wheel and a few lemon and lime slices floating within.

PRO TIP: To make a salt rim, simply rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass and dip it in some salt. The little bit of lime juice will help it stick. Same goes for a Tajín rim!

I should probably mention that 99% of the time I don’t bother with any of these extras. Or even the highball glass, LOL… I make mine a double in my 20-oz. Yeti Rambler, slap on the lid, and go sip this perfect refreshing drink by the Solo Stove.

What can I say?! It’s hands down my favorite way to spend a summer Friday night.

best tequila for paloma drink squirt in a glass with a red stir stick and salt on the rim

Best Tequila For Paloma Cocktails

What is the best tequila for a paloma? I hate to say it, but in the end, it’s really going to come down to personal preference. Using different types of tequila is a fun way to change up classic cocktail recipes, and there are many good tequilas available in a wide range of price points.

You really need to sample a variety in your favorite drinks to determine which produces the best tequila cocktails to your liking. Otherwise, you’ll never know if you prefer an unaged tequila blanco or an aged reposado tequila.

I will say that fruity drinks are more forgiving, so you probably would not want to waste a pricey, high-quality tequila on them.

My Favorite Tequila For Simple Tequila Drinks

I’m assuming that at least some of you are curious which tequila I think makes the best drink, though. So I will tell you that I tend to stick to one type of tequila for this easy paloma recipe with Squirt (and margaritas or just about any mixed drink with tequila, for what it’s worth) — a white tequila, also known as silver tequila or blanco tequila, as opposed to a gold tequila.

Specifically, my personal favorite tequila brand is 1800 Silver tequila, which is clean, balanced, and has a smooth finish. AND it’s an affordable bottle of tequila. Expensive tequila is decidedly NOT a requirement in my palomas. 1800 Silver is always my first choice when making these easy tequila drinks…

Although, if I’m looking to do a tequila shot, I gotta say I’m a Patron girl all the way… Chilled with a twist of lime, please!

Anyhow, if you’re looking for drinks to make with tequila, this is my favorite paloma drink recipe in its simplest form. I totally think you will love this drink idea, too… Give this classic drink a try for Cinco de Mayo, happy hour, or no special reason at all!!

paloma drink recipe made with squirt and tequila plus limes and a pinch of salt in a highball glass with a red stir stick

Simple Tequila and Squirt Paloma Drink

Yield: 1 paloma drink
Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute

This easy paloma recipe is made with tequila and Squirt grapefruit soda, a squeeze of lime juice, and a pinch of salt. If you're wondering what to mix with tequila, HERE'S your answer... Sometimes called a poor man’s margarita, these simple tequila drinks are inexpensive and delicious!



  1. Fill a highball glass up with ice.
  2. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the ice, and sprinkle with a heavy pinch of flaky sea salt. Add your desired amount of tequila and Squirt grapefruit soda based on the ratios above.
  3. Stir to combine, and enjoy.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 8 oz.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 266.3mgCarbohydrates: 19.5 gFiber: 0gSugar: 18.8gProtein: 0g

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

paloma drink with tequila and squirt in a highball glass with salt on the rim of the glass
P.S. Don’t even bother with the canned pre-mixed palomas that I’ve been seeing pop up on the shelves at grocery stores lately. I’ve tried EVERY overpriced brand I’ve come across, and they’re ALL terrible!

More Easy Party Drink Recipes

Need a few more delicious drink recipes for parties? Here are some of my all-time faves:

  • Pudding Shots — These luscious chocolate pudding shots are heavenly little cups of alcohol-infused pudding that are sure to make you the host or hostess with the mostest!
  • RumChata Pudding Shots — These dreamy RumChata pudding shots are luscious little cups of cinnamon-y, vanilla-y alcohol-infused pudding that will be the star of your next cookout or tailgate!
  • Frozen Wine Slushie Recipe — Just three ingredients combine to make these ah-mazing peach wine slushies: moscato wine, frozen peaches, and confectioners’ sugar. Frosty and fabulous!
  • Kahlúa and Root Beer Float — What happens when you mix a classic root beer float with Kahlúa French Vanilla? Magic, that’s what! Guests will adore this Kahlúa root beer float on a hot summer night…
  • Strawberry Daiquiri — Hands down THE BEST frozen strawberry daiquiri I’ve ever had: not too sweet, not too tart, and deliciously thick and creamy! Uses just four ingredients.

I’d love to see how your palomas turn out… Tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check them out. Enjoy!


Thursday 5th of October 2023

I would love to know why this is called a "poor man's margarita". You already have the tequila in it, and the liquor is the most expensive ingredient. Perhaps it's just a lazy man's margarita for when you're too lazy to mix a cocktail.

Tara Kuczykowski

Monday 9th of October 2023

I can appreciate that perspective, and it's definitely easier to make. But if you actually read what I've written, you'll understand that we started drinking these as an alternative to magaritas at a time when the price of limes was skyrocketing. And you definitely don't need to use top shelf tequila to make them!


Sunday 11th of June 2023

What happens of you use reposado tequila vs the white tequila?

Tara Kuczykowski

Tuesday 13th of June 2023

Hi Pia - it's really just a matter of preference. If you enjoy reposado tequila, you can certainly try this recipe with it!


Friday 14th of October 2022

I want to watch a video of someone calling this "a poor man's margarita"... What nonsense :) This is a rich man's choice of a great, refreshing, tequila cocktail! I use a giant refill cup from the local gas station - "The Big Bladder" cup (It's one of the few ways I've found to use the giant bags of limes from Costco, before they shrink or go moldy). I use a solid hand held citrus squeezer and a minimum of 7 limes (use them up - add more limes - add more tequila), 4/5 full of ice cubes (the good ice shines here) - and dirt cheap tequila - (Dorado Gold runs about $8 a litre in our market). Squirt when it's on sale, Shasta sells a "Zazz" that's about half the price of Squirt, and if I want it sweeter, we have a plethora of Jarritos Toronja -around town (It's not close when a bartender says - I can mix grapefruit juice with Sprite and it's the same thing) 64 ozs of delight (the mix of tequila to soda depends on how quickly I want to get toasted). We have a racetrack on the local Salt Flats - so I top the cup with a generous layer of "Trechas SaLimon Powder" (as the salt melts the ice, it forms a tasty/crusty layer of SaLimon). Enjoy the "Paloma a la Salt Flats" Probably a wee bit large to be considered a "cocktail" - but a great way to get through/enjoy a family reunion, superbowl party, tailgate, or my favorite - sitting on the beach with my own personal "pitcher" of smiles!

Tara Kuczykowski

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

Wow, I've never heard of Zazz, but I will definitely keep an eye out for it. And I'm gonna pick up some of the SaLimon to try! We buy the giant bags of limes from Costco every few weeks, too. Another good way to make them last longer is to place them in a gallon Ziploc bag. Squeeze as much air as you can out of it, close it tightly, and store them in the fridge. They keep for several weeks this way! I do the same with the big bags of lemons from there, too.


Thursday 6th of October 2022

My favorite go to drink but I use diet squirt or Fresca and always 1800 tequila

Tara Kuczykowski

Thursday 6th of October 2022

I still need to try Fresca in them! Gonna add some to my grocery list now...


Monday 1st of August 2022

Fresca (original flavor) and Altos blanco... lots of ice !!!! my summer go to !!!

Tara Kuczykowski

Monday 1st of August 2022

Thanks, Betsy! I haven't tried Fresca with it, but I will pick some up on my next shopping trip.

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