Royal Paloma


Tart grapefruit juice, floral orange liqueur, blanco tequila, and a hint of anise-flavored Pernod are topped with lemon tonic water in this tasty cocktail.

Royal Paloma
Total Time:
5 mins

The classic Paloma cocktail is thought to have been invented in the 1950s in Mexico, and featured blanco tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit-flavored soda. ("Paloma," which means dove in Spanish, possibly refers to the color of the drink — many grapefruit sodas popular in this drink, such as Squirt, are white in color.) This Royal Paloma is an invigorating twist on the original from Carlton McCoy — the host of CNN's Nomad and a master sommelier. McCoy's Royal Paloma cocktail is crafted to balance tart grapefruit juice, floral orange liqueur, and smooth tequila with a hint of anise-flavored Pernod, all topped with lemon tonic water. A fresh fennel frond garnish reinforces the flavor of the Pernod with its licorice-like fragrance.

To make cracked ice, place one ice cube at a time in the palm of your hand, and tap with the back of a bar spoon to break apart. Alternatively, place about two cups of ice cubes in a quart-size ziplock plastic bag, and tap each cube once with a meat mallet to break apart. For the most striking presentation, place the grapefruit half-moon slice into the glass, pressing it against the wall of the glass before adding the ice and the rest of the ingredients.


  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) blanco tequila (such as Lobos 1707)

  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice (from 1 grapefruit)

  • 1 teaspoon anise-flavored liqueur (such as Pernod)

  • Cracked ice

  • 1 thin grapefruit half-moon slice

  • ¼ cup lemon tonic water (such as Fever-Tree Lemon Tonic)

  • Fennel frond, for garnish


  1. Stir together tequila, orange liqueur, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and anise-flavored liqueur in a cocktail mixing glass. Add cracked ice to mixing glass to fill about two-thirds of the way full. Stir until well chilled, about 15 seconds.

  2. Arrange grapefruit half-moon slice against the inside of a large Collins glass (at least 12 ounces); fill glass three-fourths of the way full with cracked ice. Strain cocktail into prepared glass, and top with lemon tonic water. Garnish with fennel frond.

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