This crimson-red Cranberry Christmas Paloma is a festive and flavorful cocktail that puts a holiday twist on the traditional Paloma. If you're looking for the best tequila cocktail for a holiday party, this is it.
The Best Christmas Paloma Recipe
A paloma is one of Mexico's most popular cocktails and has taken over the hearts of Americans in the United States. You make a classic paloma with grapefruit juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and tequila.
I took that recipe and turned it into a festive holiday drink! This cranberry Christmas Paloma is Santa Clause red and garnished with sugared cranberries and rosemary that look like snow-covered holly berries. It tastes light and refreshing with a bright citrus flavor from fresh juices.
This bubbly drink is tart with a touch of sweetness. You only need a few simple ingredients, and it takes a few minutes to put together.
Among all of the holiday drinks this time of year, this Christmas paloma ranks amongst the best (next to a creamy espresso martini). It's the perfect cocktail to serve at a holiday party, December happy hour, or as a Christmas Eve cocktail.
How to Make Cranberry Christmas Paloma
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This cranberry Christmas Paloma is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Make the rosemary simple syrup and cranberries. Combine water, sugar, and rosemary sprigs over medium heat until bubbling then simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the rosemary to steep for 10 minutes.
Make the sugared cranberries and rosemary: Add the cranberries to the simple syrup and toss to coat quickly. Transfer all to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar to a medium bowl and cover each rosemary sprig in sugar then place it back on the wire rack. Repeat with the cranberries and allow everything to cool while you prepare the cocktail.
Mix cocktail. Combine the tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, and rosemary simple syrup in a shaker glass, add ice, and shake well.
Strain into a glass. Add ice a cocktail glass then strain the mixture into the prepared glass over the ice.
Success tip: shaking the cocktail with ice cools the drink down, preventing the lukewarm drink from melting the ice in the glass and watering down the cocktail.
Top, garnish, and serve. Top the cocktail off with soda water, grapefruit soda (I like Fresca), or even ginger beer. Garnish with a sprig of sugared rosemary and a few sugared cranberries on a toothpick.
Expert Recipe Tips And Variations
The perfect drink really comes down to personal preference, so don't be afraid to switch things up.
- Mellow things out. If you don’t like your paloma cocktail recipe to be strong, just top it with more fresh juice or club soda. You could also leave the drink at room temperature for a little and allow the ice to melt.
- Don't skimp on quality. Use high quality ingredients for a really good cocktail — from your fruit to your tequila. (Do yourself a favor and grab 100% blue agave tequila.)
- Make them for a crowd. Prep the entire mixed drink minus the ice earlier in the day before guests show up and make a whole pitcher full.
- Turn up the citrusy flavor! Add an extra squeeze of lime juice to your drink or add a couple of grapefruit slices to the rim of your glass.
- Add a salt rim. Optionally, if you prefer a salted rim, run a grapefruit wedge around the rim of the glass and then dip it in a small plate of glass before pouring in the ice.
- Try another kind of sweetener in the simple syrup like honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar.
- Try pomegranate juice instead of cranberry juice.
If you make this easy paloma recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Refreshing Cocktail Recipes
- Use your leftover cranberry juice to make a cranberry Moscow mule with fresh pomegranate pearls.
- Need a classic margarita recipe? Try these mango margaritas.
- This blueberry ginger mojito is the perfect summer cocktail.
- Need a cocktail to go with your dessert? Try this creamy espresso martini.
Rosemary Simple Syrup (Serves 2)
- ¼ cup 59ml water
- ¼ cup 59ml granulated sugar or honey
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary (Serves 2)
- ¼ cup fresh cranberries
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Fresh rosemary from above
Christmas Paloma (Serves 1)
- 2.5 ounces ⅓ cup; 74ml blanco tequila (Note 1)
- 2 ounces ¼ cup; 59ml fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 ounces ¼ cup; 59ml cranberry juice
- ½ ounce 1 Tablespoon; 15ml fresh lime juice (about ½ lime)
- 1 ounce 2 Tablespoons; 29ml rosemary simple syrup, more or less to taste
- Club soda grapefruit soda like Fresca, lime soda, or regular, for topping
- Garnish: Sprig of Rosemary above, sugared cranberries(above), fresh limes, fresh grapefruit
- Make the rosemary simple syrup. In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and rosemary sprigs over medium heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow the rosemary to steep for 10 minutes while the mixture cools slightly.
- Add the cranberries from to the simple syrup and toss to coat quickly. Transfer the rosemary sprigs and cranberries to a wire cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar to a medium bowl and cover each rosemary sprig in sugar then place it back on the wire rack. Repeat with the cranberries. Let them cool and set while you prepare the cocktail.
- Rim a highball glass with a lime wedge and salt (optional). Fill it halfway with crushed ice.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, and rosemary simple syrup. Add ice to the shaker. Shake the ingredients well to chill the mixture and combine.
- Strain the mixture into the prepared glass over the ice. Top it off with club soda (or another soda) to your liking.
- Garnish with a sprig of fresh sugared rosemary and a few sugared cranberries.