Paloma Cocktail with a Spicy Kick

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Most people assume the best time to drink a Paloma cocktail is in the summer. In reality, this tequila cocktail is perfect for the winter months because fresh, ruby red grapefruit is in season! Let’s be real, everything tastes way better when it is at its peak. Ruby red grapefruits are usually in season starting in November going all the way through May. Wouldn’t you be surprised to know that National Grapefruit month is actually in February!?

Paloma drinks are a great cocktail in order to get a mix of both sweet and sour flavors. We decided to kick it up a notch and also add some heat. We love spicy drinks whether it is a jalapeno margarita or an extra-spicy bloody mary cocktail.

We received a number of hot sauce flavors from Texas-based Melinda’s Hot Sauce Company, and the one that really caught our eye was the mango habanero hot sauce flavor (check out all their sauce varieties). The sauce carried some nice spice from the habanero pepper and a slightly sweet aspect of the mango.

This served as the inspiration for our Mango Habanero Paloma Recipe. If you’re looking for a booze-free version, check out this Paloma Mocktail recipe.

When photo shooting this recipe, we thought that garnishing the glass with a few habanero peppers would be a cute touch. That is until Karen touched her face after slicing the pepper. Fresh habaneros are hella hot. If you have past experience with this type of pepper, you know to be sure to wear gloves when working with these peppers.

If you don’t have experience with these fresh peppers, probably skip the garnish and just add more drops of Melinda’s Hot Sauce if you want to dial up the heat and flavor. Karen’s skin was tingling for almost an entire day after making that rookie mistake!

If you love tequila, also consider making a Texas Ranch Water, Skinny Margarita, or a Pricky Pear Margarita.

Mango Habanero Paloma Cocktail Recipe

Makes 1 cocktail


  • 2-4 shakes of Melinda’s Mango Habanero Hot Sauce (adjust based on desired spice level)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (add more if you like sweeter cocktail)
  • 2 lime wedges squeezed
  • 1/3 cup grapefruit juice, 100% real or fresh squeezed
  • 1.5 oz. tequila blanco
  • Top with grapefruit Topo Chico or other grapefruit-flavored sparkling water or soda
  • Garnish: Lime and grapefruit slices
  • Optional: 2 thin slices of habanero pepper, seeds removed

Mix the hot sauce, grapefruit juice, tequila, sugar and lime in a glass. Add ice. Top with sparkling water, stir to combine. Feel free to adjust the cocktail by adding more sweetener or hot sauce to your drink. Bottoms up!

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