Low-Sugar Paloma


Better-for-You Cocktail Week continues with this Low-Sugar Paloma. A refreshing mix of grapefruit and lime juices with just enough tequila to shake things up, and it’s beautiful blushing pink color. This has quickly become one of our favorite drinks this summer. 

Pucker up!

At the end of a long weekor in the middle of a summer staycation—few things hit the spot like our Low-Sugar Paloma. Made with freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juice, and sweetened with the tiniest bit of honey, it’s sweet and tart and equally great as a mocktail or cocktail when you add a splash of tequila. 

While grapefruits are often thought to be sour and in need of a dusting of sugar, we’re here to dispel that myth! Using pink or ruby red grapefruits (or buying the pre-squeezed juice) makes these Low-Sugar Palomas just sweet enough. Of course, you can add a little honey to taste, if you like. I often do because it makes a nice counterpart to the salty rim and tart lime juice. 

Ingredients to Make a Low-Sugar Paloma

  • Grapefruits – Grapefruit juice will also work. Look for one in the refrigerator section without added sweeteners. 
  • Limes – While pre-made or bottled lime juice will work in pinch, nothing compares to the taste of freshly-squeezed lime juice so we suggest always using fresh limes when making cocktails.
  • Honey – Just a tiny bit is all you need, but you can certainly leave it out if you’d like. Skipping the honey and the tequila makes this a great Whole30-friendly mocktail. For a vegan version, try agave nectar or a few drops of liquid stevia if you desire a little extra sweetness.
  • Tequila – We like a tequila Blanco (or silver) for this Low-Sugar Paloma for its clean taste but a nice tequila reposado will also work.
  • Sparkling Water – This is optional but it adds a bit of fizz while also making your drink stretch a little further. We recommend either plain, lime, or grapefruit-flavored sparkling water without added sweeteners.
  • Coarse Salt – While optional, a little coarse salt on the rim complements the naturally sweet-tart flavors of the grapefruit and lime juices.
  • Ice 

How to Make a Low-Sugar Paloma

This is one of the easiest cocktails (or mocktails) you can make—especially if you start with pre-made juice instead of squeezing your own grapefruits. You don’t even need a fancy cocktail shaker—a mason jar and a spoon (or a tight-fitting lid) will work just fine!

Juice the grapefruits and limes. You can simply do this by squeezing them but you’ll make quicker work of it with an inexpensive handheld citrus reamer. Now pour the juices into a jar or small pitcher. 

Stir in a little honey if you’d like. Then add the tequila and give it another stir. If you’re making a mocktail, you can add the juice of an extra lime. 

To salt the rims of the glasses, pour a little coarse salt into a shallow bowl or dish. I like to add a little grapefruit or lime zest to the salt but it’s totally optional. Now take a wedge of lime and run it around the rim of each glass and invert the glasses, one at a time, into the salt and twist the glass back and forth a few times.

Now, for the best part. Fill the glasses with ice and pour the juice mixture over the top leaving an inch or so for some sparkling water, if desired. 

Tips for Making Ahead

You can easily prep these Low-Sugar Palomas ahead as they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just store the juice mixture (with tequila, if using) in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the fridge or a cooler with ice until ready to serve. 

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Low-Sugar Paloma

A light and refreshing cocktail with just the slightest hint of sweetness from honey.

  • Author: Jessica Beacom
  • Prep Time: 10 mins.
  • Total Time: 10 mins.
  • Yield: Serves 2 1x
  • Category: Refined Sugar-Free


  • 6 oz pink or ruby red grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed from 34 large grapefruits or bottled)
  • 3 oz tequila
  • 1½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey (Optional; may substitute with agave nectar or a few drops of liquid stevia for vegan)
  • Sparkling water (Optional)
  • Coarse salt for glass rims (Optional)
  • Ice


  1. Juice the grapefruits and limes. Pour juice into a jar or small pitcher.
  2. Stir in honey, if using, and tequila. Stir to mix.
  3. To salt rims of glasses: Pour a small amount of coarse salt into a shallow dish. Rub a slice of freshly-cut lime along the rim of each glass. Invert glass onto the dish and twist the glass side to side a few times to coat the rim with salt.
  4. Add ice to glasses and pour Paloma over ice leaving enough room to add a little sparkling water to the top, if desired. Serve immediately.


  • Serving Size: ½ recipe
  • Calories: 143
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Sodium: 15mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: og

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All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

About Jessica Beacom

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.

Low-Sugar Paloma originally appeared on TheRealFoodrds.com

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