How many calories in a tequila paloma?

A tequila paloma is a refreshing Mexican cocktail that typically contains tequila, grapefruit soda, lime juice, and salt. With its tangy citrus flavors and minimal ingredients, the tequila paloma is a light and easy drinking cocktail. But many people wonder – just how many calories are actually in a tequila paloma?

Calories in Tequila

To determine the calorie count of a tequila paloma, we first need to look at the calories contained in each ingredient. The main alcoholic component of a paloma is tequila. An ounce (30 ml) of pure tequila contains approximately:

  • 64 calories
  • 0 g carbs
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g protein

As a distilled spirit, tequila itself does not contain carbs, fat, protein or any nutrients. The calories in tequila come purely from the alcohol itself. All types of distilled liquors like tequila, vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey have a similar calorie count at around 64 calories per fluid ounce.

Calories in Grapefruit Soda

The second main ingredient in a classic tequila paloma recipe is grapefruit soda. Grapefruit sodas like Jarritos, Squirt, or Fresca are commonly used. An 8 ounce (240 ml) serving of grapefruit soda contains approximately:

  • 90-110 calories
  • 26-30 g carbs
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g protein

Grapefruit sodas get nearly all of their calories from carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Non-diet grapefruit sodas contain around 26-30 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving. Grapefruit soda is also fat-free and does not contain protein or fiber.

Calories in Lime Juice

The third ingredient in a tequila paloma is fresh lime juice. While sodas add the sweetness, lime juice provides acidity and that signature citrusy bite. The calories in lime juice are minimal:

  • 8 calories per fluid ounce
  • 2 g carbs
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g protein

Lime juice gets its calories from natural fruit sugars, or fructose. But because it takes around 3-4 limes to make just 1 ounce of juice, the calorie count remains low even though the flavors are concentrated.

Calories in a Tequila Paloma

Now that we know the calories in each component – tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime juice – we can calculate the total calories for a full tequila paloma cocktail. A standard recipe for one tequila paloma drink is:

  • 2 ounces (60ml) tequila – 128 calories
  • 6 ounces (180ml) grapefruit soda – 110 calories
  • 1 ounce (30ml) fresh lime juice – 8 calories

Adding those together, a single tequila paloma made with 2 ounces of tequila contains about 246 calories. This is calculated using the most common recipe ratios of a 3:1 ratio of soda to tequila, and a squeeze of lime.

Calories Using Different Ingredients

There are many variations of the tequila paloma cocktail recipe. The calories can increase or decrease depending on different ingredient substitutions, including:

  • Diet soda – Using a diet grapefruit soda cuts around 100 calories.
  • Agave nectar – Adding a splash of agave nectar instead of lime adds about 60 calories per tablespoon.
  • Seltzer water – Using seltzer instead of grapefruit soda decreases calories by about 100.
  • Syrups – Flavored syrups like ginger, cucumber, strawberry add 20-30 calories per tablespoon.
  • Sugar rim – A sugared rim adds approximately 23 calories from the teaspoon of sugar used.

Does Order Matter for Calories?

You may be wondering – does the serving order change the calorie counts? For example, what if you drink the tequila first, then add the soda and lime after?

The good news is that the order you drink the ingredients does not affect calories or nutrition. You’ll consume the same amount of calories whether you mix the drink together first or not.

Comparing Calories in Palomas

Let’s compare the 246 calories in a regular tequila paloma to other cocktails and drinks:

Drink Calories (6 oz serving)
Tequila paloma 246
Margarita 168
Mojito 197
Piña colada 490
Moscow mule 180
Bloody Mary 180
Long Island Iced Tea 780

As you can see, a tequila paloma contains a moderate amount of calories compared to most cocktails. It has slightly more calories than a margarita or Moscow mule, but far less than a piña colada or Long Island iced tea.

Lower Calorie Options

Here are some easy tips to lighten up your tequila paloma:

  • Use sparkling water instead of grapefruit soda.
  • Switch to diet grapefruit soda.
  • Use fresh grapefruit juice instead of soda.
  • Skip the sugared rim.
  • Use 100% agave tequila instead of a lower quality blend.
  • Add extra lime juice and skip the agave nectar.

With some simple substitutions and adjustments, you can easily decrease the calories and sugar in a tequila paloma while still keeping all that refreshing grapefruit flavor.

Calories in a Pitcher of Palomas

What if you’re making a round of drinks for a group? Here’s the calorie count for a pitcher of palomas:

A standard 8 cup pitcher serves 4 people. To make a pitcher, you’ll need:

  • 16 oz (480ml) tequila = 1024 calories
  • 48 oz (1440ml) grapefruit soda = 440 calories
  • 4 oz (120ml) lime juice = 32 calories

That’s a total of approximately 1496 calories per pitcher. Divided 4 ways into 8oz (240ml) servings, each serving from the pitcher is about 374 calories.

Low Calorie Pitcher

To make a lower calorie pitcher, you can:

  • Use diet soda – cuts 440 calories
  • Use sparkling water with 2 oz (60ml) grapefruit juice per serving instead of soda – cuts 440 calories
  • Use 12 oz (360ml) tequila instead of 16 oz (480ml) – cuts 256 calories

Making those swaps results in an 8 cup low-calorie paloma pitcher with only 800 calories total, or 200 calories per 8 ounce serving.

Burning Off the Calories

Wondering how much exercise it would take to burn off the 246 calories in a tequila paloma? Here’s a look at some activities and how many calories they burn in 30 minutes for a 150 lb (68kg) person:

Activity Calories Burned in 30 Minutes
Walking (moderate pace) 85
Jogging (5 mph) 240
Biking (moderate effort) 205
Yoga 119
Dancing 129

As you can see, going for a 30 minute jog or bike ride can burn off all the calories from a tequila paloma. More moderate exercise cuts at least a third of the calories.

Tips for Drinking Palomas in Moderation

While the occasional tequila paloma can be part of a healthy diet, drinking in moderation is key. Here are some tips:

  • Limit to 1-2 drinks per day for women, 2-3 for men.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid sugary mixers and sodas.
  • Eat before and/or while drinking.
  • Choose lower calorie ingredients.
  • Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Focusing on mindful, moderate drinking can allow you to enjoy tequila palomas while avoiding excessive calorie intake.

The Bottom Line

A standard tequila paloma containing 2 ounces of tequila, 6 ounces of grapefruit soda and 1 ounce of lime juice has approximately 246 calories. This is a moderate amount compared to most cocktails. There are many easy ways to decrease the calories in a paloma by substituting lower calorie ingredients. Drinking palomas in moderation and focusing on healthy choices can allow you to indulge while maintaining balanced nutrition.

Leave a Comment