Grapefruit Margarita Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 10 min
This grapefruit margarita will be the pretty aperitif you want to serve up all summer long. It looks like a sunset and tastes like a refreshing citrus blend of classic margarita and paloma, all wrapped into one gorgeous drink.

Updated: May 16, 2024

Margaritas always hit the spot. They’re sweet and salty and refreshing in a way that dry martinis could never match. The classic margarita with lime is a staple when you’re ordering sizzling fajitas or a taco dinner. But what about a grapefruit margarita? It might not be on the menu of your favorite Mexican restaurant, but you can bank on it being a hit if you shake (or blend) it up at home.

This sunset-hued margarita is a play on the flavors of the paloma, a classic Mexican cocktail made with tequila and grapefruit soda. Served poolside or at the picnic table, for birthday bashes or wedding showers, you’re definitely going to want to make a pitcher-sized batch of this recipe.

Ingredients for Grapefruit Margarita

  • Grapefruit: You’ll need grapefruit juice to flavor the drink and fresh grapefruit to garnish, but you can always leave the garnish out.
  • Tequila: We recommend blanco tequila over gold so the clear color keeps the margarita bright-looking and more citrus-leaning. (The gold tends to take on a more oaky flavor.)
  • Triple Sec: Used in classic margaritas and grapefruit margaritas, Triple Sec gives the cocktail a hint of orange flavor and keeps that familiarity of a classic margarita.

Directions

Step 1: Salt the rim

Moisten the rim of one cocktail glass (a margarita glass or hurricane glass will work) with a grapefruit slice. If desired, sprinkle salt on a plate, and dip the rim in the salt. Fill the glass with ice.

Step 2: Shake the ingredients

Add tequila, Triple Sec and grapefruit juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice, make sure the lid is on tight, and shake until frost forms on the outside of the shaker. This will take 15 to 20 seconds.

Step 3: Strain and garnish

Strain into the prepared glass, and top with grenadine. The grenadine will sink to the bottom and give the drink a beautiful sunset presentation. Garnish the rim with a grapefruit slice, or dunk a slice into the drink itself.

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Recipe Variations

  • Turn this into a frozen grapefruit margarita: We love an on-the-rocks moment, but frozen margaritas are splendid on ultra-hot days. Blend the tequila, Triple Sec, grapefruit juice and grenadine in a blender with 1 cup crushed ice. Process until smooth, and pour into your salt-rimmed glasses.
  • Rim the glasses with Tajin seasoning: A Tajin rim around the glass will give you a little kick of heat to balance the sweetness of the grapefruit and grenadine. It also totally plays into the drink’s gorgeous color theme.
  • Garnish with candied or dried citrus: Instead of dunking a grapefruit wedge into the glass, give your margarita a craft-cocktail upgrade with candied citrus or dehydrated grapefruit slices.

Can you store grapefruit margaritas?

You can if it’s on the rocks and not frozen! An on-the-rocks grapefruit margarita (minus the rocks) will keep in the fridge for up to three days. Keep the ice out so it won’t water down the cocktail. Store multiple servings in a covered pitcher, and store single servings in covered Mason jars.

Grapefruit Margarita Tips

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What can you substitute for Triple Sec?

Another orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau could replace the Triple Sec, but it may slightly alter the flavor of the grapefruit margarita. Note that Grand Marnier and Cointreau both have 40% alcohol by volume and Triple Sec is often only in the 20% to 30% range.

What is the difference between a grapefruit margarita and a paloma?

A grapefruit margarita uses grapefruit juice versus a paloma, which uses grapefruit soda. There is also Triple Sec and grenadine in the margarita, which aren’t present in a paloma.

Grapefruit Margarita

Prep Time 10 min
Yield 1 serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 grapefruit slice
  • Coarse sea salt, optional
  • Ice cubes
  • 1-1/2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine syrup

Directions

  1. Moisten rim of 1 cocktail glass with grapefruit slice. If desired, sprinkle salt on a plate; dip rim in salt. Fill glass with ice.
  2. In an empty cocktail shaker, combine tequila, triple sec and grapefruit juice. Fill with ice; cover and shake until frost forms on the outside of the shaker, 15-20 seconds. Strain into prepared glass and top with grenadine (it will sink to the bottom of the glass). Garnish with grapefruit slice.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 225 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 3mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

When you add a drizzle of grenadine to your finished grapefruit margarita, it sinks to the bottom of the glass, creating a beautiful sunset look. —James Schend, Dairy Freed