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Easy Grapefruit Mocktail (Virgin Paloma)

Easy Grapefruit Mocktail (Virgin Paloma) – This non-alcoholic twist on a paloma is the perfect blend of citrus and sparkle. You’ll love the fresh, bright flavor!

Two grapefruit mocktails garnished with grapefruit wedges, lime slices, and fresh rosemary

Between holiday parties, family celebrations, and New Year’s Eve all on the horizon, there are plenty of occasions where a great drink is called for. And, if you’re pregnant, serving kids, or simply don’t drink (like me), a party mocktail recipe is just the ticket.

Since it’s winter and citrus are in season, we’re making a grapefruit mocktail recipe today! Made with fresh citrus juice, a special simple syrup, and plenty of sparkle, these grapefruit mocktails are perfect for any celebration.

They’re utterly refreshing, gorgeously pink, and so easy to make! Here’s what you need to make a virgin paloma mocktail…

A small bottle of rosemary simple syrup on a plate with grapefruit and fresh lime

Here’s What You Need To Make a Virgin Paloma

The International Bartenders Association recipe for a traditional paloma cocktail contains tequila, fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt, and pink grapefruit soda. Other paloma recipes use tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and club soda. To make a non-alcoholic paloma mocktail, we’re removing the alcohol and combining elements from both recipes. You’ll need:

  • Fresh Grapefruit Juice. For the best citrus taste, I recommend fresh grapefruit juice from actual grapefruit, whenever possible. If that’s not in the cards, look for a 100% grapefruit juice blend with no added sugar or other juices. Fresh makes the prettiest pink mocktail!
  • Rosemary Simple Syrup or Agave Syrup. You only need sugar, water, and fresh rosemary to make it! It adds such a delicious flavor and a touch of elegance to this drink. If you prefer natural sweetener or you’re short on time, agave syrup is a great alternative.
  • Fresh Lime Juice. For even more brightness, I add some fresh lime juice. Even though lime juice is sour, it tends to mellow out the grapefruit juice’s tartness. It’s delicious!
  • Sparkling Water. Then, you’ll need some club soda or sparkling water/soda water. It adds such a nice fizz to the drink!
  • Pretty Garnishes. Lastly, you’ll finish this pretty pink mocktail with some garnishes. I at *least* recommend some grapefruit slices and fresh rosemary sprigs, but don’t miss all our garnish ideas below!

How To Make Non-Alcoholic Grapefruit Mocktails, Step By Step:

Start By Making The Rosemary Simple Syrup

  1. Wash The Rosemary. If you haven’t yet, wash the rosemary thoroughly in cool water. Keep the rosemary in big sprigs, if possible.
  2. Dissolve The Sugar And Water. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan and stir to dissolve over medium heat. It’s ok to bring the mixture to a simmer, but there’s no need to boil.
  3. Steep The Rosemary. When the water is steaming or simmering and the sugar is completely dissolved, add the sprigs of rosemary. Turn off the heat and let the simple syrup steep for at least 10-20 minutes, up to 1 hour. (The longer you steep it, the stronger the flavor will be.)
  4. Strain, Store & Serve. Pour the simple syrup through a fine mesh strainer to strain out the rosemary and store the rosemary simple syrup in a glass jar or airtight container in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

Then, Make Your Grapefruit Mocktail

  1. Start With Juice & Syrup. Add grapefruit juice, lime juice, and rosemary simple syrup (or agave, if using) to a glass. Stir to combine. (Stirring without the sparkling water helps you keep the fizz in the drink later. You can also add these ingredients to a cocktail shaker & shake to combine!)
  2. Add Ice. Next, fill the glass with ice.
  3. Top With Sparkling Water. Then, top off the glass with club soda/sparkling water.
  4. Add Garnishes. Finish by adding your favorite garnishes and enjoy!
Two grapefruit mocktails garnished with grapefruit wedges, lime slices, and fresh rosemary

Pretty Ways To Garnish This drink

  • Grapefruit slices or grapefruit wedges. My favorite garnishes are those that speak to and play up the ingredients in a mocktail. Since this is a grapefruit mocktail, adding fresh grapefruit slices or wedges instantly tells you a sweet, tart grapefruit drink is on the way!
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs. Then, a sprig or two of fresh rosemary adds vibrant green color and another flavor cue.
  • Lime slices. If you’re out of grapefruit after juicing them, lime slices or a lime wedge add pretty color contrast to this peachy-pink drink.
  • Jalapeño slices. If you want a bit of kick, try adding a few slices of jalapeño. It sounds crazy, but it works!
  • Pretty ice cubes. Make ice cubes with pieces of grapefruit, lime, or rosemary in them for a fun effect. Or, use a fun ice tray to make shaped ice!
  • A pretty rim. Or, run a wedge of lime or grapefruit around the rim of a glass and dip it in kosher salt or sugar to make a salt rim or sugar rim.
virgin paloma in stemless wine glass

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Grapefruit Mocktail

Use Fresh Grapefruit Juice & Fresh Lime Juice. Whenever you can, use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and lime juice from real grapefruit and limes to make a virgin paloma. It makes a HUGE impact on the flavor of your drink. Bottled juice (especially grapefruit and lime juice!) tend to run bitter, so you may need more simple syrup or agave to counteract this.

Try It With Grapefruit Soda. For even more grapefruit flavor, you can swap all or part of the club soda out for grapefruit soda or sparkling grapefruit mixers like Q Grapefruit, Jarritos, grapefruit Italian soda, or Fever Tree Grapefruit (our pick). These are sweetened, so you may need less simple syrup/agave in your drinks. (Some people also like to make theirs ginger beer or ginger ale instead of club soda)

Try Muddling The Rosemary. If you have plain simple syrup on hand or you’re using agave, you can still bring out the rosemary flavor in the drink by muddling the rosemary. Add fresh rosemary to the glass along with the simple syrup or agave, and use a muddler to muddle the rosemary by pressing down and twisting a few times to release some of the essential oils.

Adjust To Taste. Depending on the sweetness, tartness, and bitterness of your juice, you may prefer to add more simple syrup or sweetener to your drink. Or, if you like your drinks more tart, you can use less!

WE ♥

Leave us a star review below after trying this grapefruit mocktail recipe! We’d love to hear how it goes. Tag us @sweetsandthankyou on Instagram so we can share your photos of this pretty pink mocktail!

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virgin paloma in stemless wine glass

Easy Grapefruit Mocktail (Paloma Mocktail)


  • Author: Emily Dixon, Sweets & Thank You
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This non-alcoholic twist on a paloma is the perfect blend of citrus and sparkle. You’ll love the fresh, bright flavor!


Ingredients

Scale

For Rosemary Simple Syrup:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 23 sprigs fresh rosemary

For Each Grapefruit Mocktail:

  • 4 oz. fresh grapefruit juice (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice (1 Tablespoon)
  • 1/23/4 oz. rosemary simple syrup or agave (11 1/2 Tablespoons)
  • 24 oz. club soda or sparkling water (1/41/2 cup)

Optional Garnish:

  • Fresh rosemary sprigs, grapefruit slices, lime wedges, or a sugar or salt rim.

Instructions

Start By Making The Rosemary Simple Syrup:

  1. Wash The Rosemary. If you haven’t yet, wash the rosemary thoroughly in cool water. Keep the rosemary in big sprigs, if possible.
  2. Dissolve The Sugar And Water. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan and stir to dissolve over medium heat. It’s ok to bring the mixture to a simmer, but there’s no need to boil.
  3. Steep The Rosemary. When the water is steaming or simmering and the sugar is completely dissolved, add the sprigs of rosemary. Turn off the heat and let the simple syrup steep for at least 10-20 minutes, up to 1 hour. (The longer you steep it, the stronger the flavor will be.)
  4. Strain, Store & Serve. Pour the simple syrup through a fine mesh strainer to strain out the rosemary and store the rosemary simple syrup in a glass jar or airtight container in the fridge up to 2 weeks. (This recipe makes plenty for several drinks!)

Make Your Mocktail:

  1. Add Ice. Fill the glass with ice.
  2. Start With Juice & Syrup. Add grapefruit juice, lime juice, and rosemary simple syrup (or agave, if using) to a glass. Stir to combine. (Stirring without the sparkling water helps you keep the fizz in the drink later. You can also add these ingredients to a cocktail shaker & shake to combine!)
  3. Taste And Adjust. If you’re making this for yourself, now’s a great time to check in on the flavor. If your grapefruit was especially tart or a little bitter, you may want more simple syrup/agave.
  4. Top With Sparkling Water. Then, top off the glass with club soda/sparkling water.
  5. Add Garnishes. Finish by adding your favorite garnishes and enjoy!

Notes

*Try Muddling The Rosemary. If you have plain simple syrup on hand or you’re using agave, you can still bring out the rosemary flavor in the drink by muddling the rosemary. Add fresh rosemary to the glass along with the simple syrup or agave, and muddle the rosemary by pressing down and twisting a few times to release some of the essential oils.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: paloma mocktail, grapefruit mocktail, virgin paloma, virgin grapefruit cocktail, non-alcoholic paloma

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