La Paloma, a tequila cocktail made with fresh lime and fizzy grapefruit soda, is a VinePair staff favorite. The drink’s origins are uncertain, though some historians credit Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner of the renowned La Capilla bar in Tequila, Jalisco.
Palomas are currently enjoying a rightful renaissance across the U.S. Powered in part by “record-high” tequila consumption, Google searches for the cocktail have tripled in America over the last five years. Drinks connoisseurs like Rosie Schaap and Philip Ward have published their own takes on the classic recipe.
To determine the best tequila for Palomas, a panel of industry professionals blind-tasted cocktails made by yours truly with more than 10 different spirits. For sake of consistency, we used tequila blanco across the board, plus Alta Palla sparkling grapefruit soda (Jarritos Grapefruit is another excellent option), fresh-squeezed lime juice, and kosher salt.
Here are the seven best tequilas for La Paloma cocktail, ranked.
This affordable option has a light, fruity profile. While some tasters found it “bland,” others appreciated how the grapefruit flavor shone through. Average price: $25
Herbaceous and spicy, Pasote gave our Palomas kick. Appreciative tasters liked the subtle black pepper notes in this iteration. Average price: $45
A strong agave nose gives way to an almost woodsy flavor here, with almost no identifiable alcohol. “This tastes dangerous, in a good way,” commented one taster. Average price: $46
The Mexico City-inspired label gave our Palomas a pleasant sweetness that won over some tasters. “It’s straightforward and crushable,” said one panelist. Average price: $28
“This is delicious,” one taster exclaimed. Herbaceous and sour, Suerte gave the cocktail a pleasantly smooth finish. Average price: $32
Light and smooth, with a pleasantly tart finish, this Paloma won over our tasters with its balanced flavor profile. “So I’d like to drink a lot of this,” one said. Average price: $30
Described as “spritzy” and “refreshing,” with nicely balanced acidity, Avion produced our top-ranked Paloma. “I still don’t trust Adrian Grenier,” one panelist said of the label’s “Entourage” origins, but all agreed that this was the best cocktail of the day. Average price: $40