Refreshing colorful Paloma cocktails with various fruits: pear, grapefruit, lemon on yellow background with shadow fern

What is the Difference Between a Paloma vs Margarita?

Picture this: You’re in the mood for a tasteful cocktail that will elevate tonight’s stay-at-home plans. Something simple, but interesting. You have a freezer full of frozen margarita pops (a very good start), a bottle of tequila, and some limes. 

Perfect! You can opt for a classic Margarita or an under-the-radar Paloma. Each is endowed with tequila and lime, but the difference between Paloma and Margarita cocktails lies in their flavor profiles. While a margarita is sweet and sour, a Paloma is citrusy and sharp with notes of grapefruit flavor.

In this guide, we’ll explore what sets them apart from one another and detail a couple of delicious tequila-based recipes that include alcohol ice pops to incorporate into your night in.

Paloma vs Margarita: Sweeteners

Both a Paloma and a Margarita start with the same base ingredients: tequila, lime, and (usually) salt. However, from there, in terms of sugar and sweeteners, they diverge. It’s not uncommon for some people to think that a Paloma cocktail is simply a Margarita with grapefruit juice added. 

However, that’s not the case.

While a Paloma cocktail does use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, the difference between the two cocktails comes down to how each is sweetened:1

  • Margarita – While many batched Margarita recipes will use a sweet and sour mix or a Margarita mix,2 the traditional sweetener for a Margarita is an orange liqueur. Triple Sec or Cointreau are the most commonly used options. In addition, certain recipes call for agave syrup or some simple syrup to amp up the sweetness.
  • Paloma – Instead of an orange flavor, Palomas rely on a different type of citrus profile: grapefruit. The grapefruit flavor can come in the form of a grapefruit soda or fresh grapefruit juice. You could also use grapefruit zest for extra flavor. If grapefruit juice is used, club soda will also likely be added to give the Paloma an effervescent quality that separates it from the traditional margarita.

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Paloma vs Margarita: Flavors

Typically, Margaritas will taste sweeter than Palomas. That’s because fresh squeezed grapefruit juice is more bitter than orange liquor, which contains quite a bit of sweetness. As such, Palomas will have more of a bite and present more savory than the Margarita.

But that doesn’t mean Margaritas are always sweet. 

While many people may associate the drink with sugary, frozen varieties that have been popularized by chain restaurants, the classic Margarita is not an overly sweet drink. Still, the Paloma’s bitter qualities will make it the less sweet option amongst mixed drinks.

Supercharged Margarita Recipe

Now that we’ve established the difference between the Margarita and the Paloma, it’s time for the good stuff: making the drinks. These simple recipes are designed to be quick, easy, and delicious.

First up is a classic Margarita. While any SLIQ Margarita Pop by itself does the trick when it comes to a delicious margarita, there are a few ways to supercharge your marg. To start, you’ll need:3

Once you’ve compiled each of your ingredients, place them into a shaker and shake vigorously. Then pour the cocktail into a glass. 

You can garnish your glass with a salt rim, lime wedge, or both. Enjoy!

Using Your SLIQ Frozen Cocktail Pop

While this recipe calls for you to add your SLIQ pop into the shaker and shake it with the other ingredients, there is another option: Mix your margarita with regular ice. Then, break up your frozen margarita pop into your desired consistency and place it into the glass before straining your drink on top of the pop. This will provide more of a slushy consistency for your frozen tequila drinks.

Paloma Recipe

Now let’s take a look at how to make a Paloma. For this one, you can put the shaker aside and build the cocktail right in the glass. You’ll need:4

To create your Paloma, you’ll want to add your ingredients into your glass in a very specific order. If you do go out of order, you won’t ruin the drink—it will just have a slightly different look. 

Let’s take a look at how to mix your Paloma:

  • Step 1: Add your tequila and lime juice to your glass.
  • Step 2: Add your SLIQ frozen cocktail pop (broken up to your desired consistency).
  • Step 3: Add your grapefruit juice.
  • Step 4: Add your club soda.
  • Step 5: Add a pinch of salt and give a quick stir.

While stirring the mixture will combine the ingredients slightly, you should end up with a pink drink that slowly gets lighter near the top of the glass. For garnish, you can use a lime wedge and salt rim. 

Or, you can tailor your drink with a grapefruit wedge or peel.

Pink Paloma cocktails

Taste the Difference with SLIQ

When comparing Paloma vs Margarita cocktails, there are no losers. Both drinks are classic tequila cocktails that combine a distinct agave flavor with the biting acidity of lime. 

And SLIQ frozen cocktail pops are the perfect addition to your cocktail game. Whether you’re looking for the perfect Cinco de Mayo cocktail recipes, or just looking to have a fun night with friends, their fruity flavors complement any cocktail and cool your drink without any worry of watered-down sips. Plus, it’s undeniable that SLIQ pops are delicious and refreshing on their own, too. 

Whether it’s a Paloma night or a Margarita afternoon, make it a SLIQ cocktail. If you’re also looking for easy tequila drinks to make with SLIQ alcohol ice pops, we’ve got you covered!



  1. Food Network. Friendly PSA: Palomas Are Way Better Than Margaritas. 
  2. Mashed. The Real Difference Between A Paloma And A Margarita.  
  3. Margarita. 
  4. Food & Wine. Paloma.