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Cantarito vs Paloma: Which is the Better Cocktail? (2024)

Cantarito vs Paloma

We once entered a Mexican cantina and spotted two intriguing cocktails, Cantarito and Paloma, adorning the menu. So, we got curious and ordered two cocktails to try.

Surprisingly, the cocktails have similarities but have distinct profiles that set each other apart. To tell you more about these cocktails, here’s our Cantarito vs Paloma comparison so you know what to expect.

Cantarito vs Paloma Comparison

Cantarito Cocktail Drink

Cantarito and Paloma stand as two beloved Mexican cocktails, each boasting its own unmistakable characteristics. Cantarito uses clay pot, while the Paloma gracefully graces tall glasses.

“Cantarito or Paloma? A tangy tequila battle for taste buds!” – Liquor Laboratory

While both Paloma and Cantarito mix tequila and grapefruit sodas, the alcohol content is more potent in Cantarito.

Besides, Cantarito usually incorporates other juices like lime juice or orange juice, while Paloma focuses on mixing grapefruit juices.

Quick Comparison Chart





Jalisco, Mexico

Guadalajara, Mexico

Variations & Regional Differences

Adding fruit juices like lime and orange

Adding grapefruit juice

Primary Ingredients

Tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda

Tequila, lime juice, soda water, and grapefruit juice 


Oranges and lemons 

Lime wedge 


Combo of tequila and citrus juices 

Light bittersweet flavor 

Alcohol Content

15%-25% ABV 

10%-20% ABV

Signature Feature

Cantarito’s sweet notes 

Paloma’s salty tang 


Mixing the ingredients directly in a clay pot 

Mixing the ingredients in a cocktail shaker 

Serving Methods

Clay Pots

Tall glasses 

How They Differ

bartender making paloma cocktail drink


Both of these two cocktails originated in Mexico. The Cantarito comes from Jalisco, 350 miles west of Mexico City, while the Paloma comes from Guadalajara.

Despite coming from different regions and imposing individual profiles, these Mexican cocktails boast characteristics deeply rooted in the country’s cultural heritage.

Here are some easy-to-make tequila cocktails.

Variations & Regional Differences

The regional distinctions in Cantarito and Paloma cocktails showcase their diverse variations. Both Mexican in origin, these bottles feature unique ingredients and serving traditions depending on their geographical roots.

Found predominantly in Jalisco, Cantarito blends tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. Sometimes, we mix it with orange juice or lemon juice for a perfect drink with an extra citrusy twist.

In the city, the Paloma Mexican cocktail prevails, comprising tequila, lime juice, club soda, and grapefruit-flavored soft drink for a refreshing drink.

Primary Ingredients

Cantarito and Paloma drinks share common key ingredients like tequilas and lime juice. However, their distinctive elements set them apart.

The Cantarito cocktail boasts grapefruit soda, providing a sweet and bubbly essence. On the contrary, the Paloma cocktail combines fresh grapefruit juice with club soda, providing a more natural and tangy flavor.


We like the simplicity of the Paloma cocktail garnished with a simple salt rim and lime wedge, emphasizing its refreshing nature.

In contrast, the Cantarito cocktail carries a vibrant display, often garnished with a medley of fresh citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons.

Sometimes, we add a pinch of salt and a grapefruit wedge for added appeal. Also, check out these 2-ingredient tequila drinks.


Making Cantarito Cocktail Drink

Cantarito oozes with a sweet and sour profile balancing fruit extracts, tequila, and grapefruit sodas.

Conversely, Paloma exhibits a lighter, crisp, and effervescent bittersweet flavor, combining freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and tequila.

Despite sharing tequila as a base spirit, each cocktail boasts distinct notes, setting them apart with their unique taste sensations.

Alcohol Content

We find the Paloma cocktail moderate in alcohol. Since it is typically made with tequila and mixed with grapefruit soda or juice, the alcohol by volume (ABV) ranges from 10% to 20%.

On the other hand, the Cantarito cocktail usually packs a stronger punch due to its higher alcohol concentration, yielding an ABV of around 15% to 25%.

Signature Feature

The signature feature of Cantarito cocktails includes its sweet and sour profile and how it’s traditionally served in clay cups.

“Cocktails are the perfect blend of science and art.” – Ryan Chetiyawardana, World Renowned Bartender

In comparison, the signature feature of the Paloma cocktail is its distinct bittersweet flavor with a salty hint, usually served in a tall glass.


To prepare a Paloma drink, we combine tequila, fresh lime juice, and juiced grapefruit (freshly squeezed) in a cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake vigorously, strain into a tall glass over ice, and top with soda water or club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge or add a pinch of salt rim, if desired.

For Cantarito, we mix tequila, lime juice, grapefruit soda, and ice in a clay pot. You can add orange juice or more lemon juice if desired. Then, we garnish the drink with fresh fruit slices, like lemon and orange.

Read: Recommended Low-Calorie Tequila Drinks

Serving Methods

Paloma cocktail is served traditionally in a tall glass with a salt rim, while the Cantarito drink is served in clay pots with fruit garnishes.

What Are Their Similarities?

hand holding paloma cocktail drink

The Cantarito and Paloma drinks are both Mexican favorites, and they share common elements like the inclusion of lime juice, tequila, and grapefruit-flavored soda.

However, they possess subtle distinctions that set them apart. Cantarito may also incorporate lemon or orange juice and grenadine, imparting a touch of sweetness, while the Paloma usually boasts a salt rim, adding savory notes.

Despite the difference in these drinks, we can say that both cocktails [1] deliver a refreshing citrusy taste, complementing traditional Mexican cuisine.


What is the meaning of Cantaritos?

A Cantarito is akin to a Paloma, a tequila-based highball cocktail with added ingredients like orange, lemon, and lemon juice, served in a clay cup called a jarrito de barro, which maintains the drink’s chilliness. The flavors are almost similar to Paloma drinks but with a twist.

What kind of tequila does Paloma use?

The kind of tequila Paloma uses is Blanco tequila, a clear and unaged variety of tequila. Blanco works well with the vibrant flavors of grapefruit juice and soda, creating a refreshing and well-balanced cocktail.

Which is easier to make, Cantarito or Paloma?

Paloma is generally easier to make as it requires fewer ingredients and steps. It combines all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, making it a straightforward and refreshing cocktail.

Which cocktail is sweeter, Cantarito or Paloma?

Generally, the Cantarito tends to be sweeter compared to the Paloma due to the addition of orange and lime juices, which impart a slightly sweeter and tangier flavor profile.

Do Cantarito and Paloma use the same type of tequila?

Both cocktails traditionally use blanco (silver) tequila as the base spirit. However, some variations may incorporate reposado (aged) or añejo (extra-aged) tequila for added complexity.

What garnishes are typically used for Cantarito and Paloma?

Cantarito is often garnished with slices of orange, lime, and occasionally grapefruit, as well as a sprinkle of salt on the rim of the glass. Paloma is garnished with a wedge of lime and sometimes a slice of grapefruit.

Which cocktail is more commonly served in a clay pot?

Cantarito is traditionally served in a clay pot, also known as a “jarrito,” which adds a rustic touch to the presentation. Paloma, on the other hand, is typically served in a highball or Collins glass.

Are Cantarito and Paloma both served over ice?

Yes, both Cantarito and Paloma are served over ice to keep the cocktails cold and refreshing.

Which cocktail is more commonly found in Mexican restaurants and bars?

Both Cantarito and Paloma are popular choices in Mexican restaurants and bars, but Paloma tends to be more widely recognized and available, especially outside of Mexico.

In Summary

In the battle of Cantarito vs Paloma, we like the Paloma cocktail better. It blends all the flavors of tequilas, grapefruit juices, lime juices, and soda water (or club soda), delivering a crisp and delightful cocktail.

While Cantarito boasts its unique clay pot presentation and additional ingredients, the lighter and tangier taste of Paloma makes it our preferred choice making it one of our everyday drinks.


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