This easy grapefruit mocktail combines freshly squeezed grapefruit juice with lime juice, sparkling water, sweetener and a touch of saltiness from sea salt. Such a delicious non-alcoholic fizzy drink perfect for special occasions or any day you feel like a fancy-looking yet easy mocktail recipe!
Even if you don't drink any alcohol or you simply try to drink less of it, it does not mean that you can't have a fun festive drink to sip at night. Our favorite refreshing mocktail recipes are this strawberry mojito mocktail that we make all year round and this passion fruit mocktail for whenever fresh passion fruit is easy to find.
And now this grapefruit mocktail is going to be perfect for the upcoming winter citrus season!
This healthy mocktail drink is actually the perfect example of how a non-alcoholic beverage is just as satisfying and cheery as a regular cocktail.
If you enjoy non-alcoholic drinks, then I know you will LOVE this recipe: it is nicely fizzy, full of zesty tart flavors, perfectly balanced with a little sweetness and ultra refreshing. It has a good punch to it and it looks absolutely stunning!
You can also call it a "virgin paloma drink" since it is very similar to a traditional Paloma cocktail, simply it is made without tequila.
You can make yourself this amazing grapefruit spritzer mocktail at your next party so you have a pretty bubbly drink to enjoy and celebrate with. I bet it will catch everyone's eyes! Or, do like me, make it at home just for yourself any time you feel like an end-of-day treat to relax with.
Plus, it is super easy to prepare! All you need is a large fresh grapefruit, lime, sparkling water, sweetener and ice cubes. Plus, the optional coarse salt around the rim. It really takes 5 minutes to make, with most of the work being to juice the fruits.
It makes for a delicious drink you can feel good about. It is packed with amazing fresh flavors and this mocktail actually is rich in vitamin C!
Let me know if you give it a try! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- Delicious bright and refreshing drink
- Amazing balance in tart and sweet flavors
- Can be enjoyed during hot summer days or any celebrations all year round, such as New Year, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and more.
- It is the ideal drink for people avoiding alcohol but also perfect if you are pregnant (or if you want to share with kids).
- Easy and done super quickly
- Perfect drink for dry January, baby shower and brunch!
- Great single-portion drink or make more to serve for a crowd
- Highly customizable
- Naturally vegan and gluten-free
What you'll need
- Grapefruit: you will need ¼ cup of freshly squeezed fresh grapefruit juice, which is about ½-1 grapefruit depending on the size. I highly recommend pressing your own juice for the best result, although bottled grapefruit juice can also work (unsweetened and not made from concentrate).
- Lime juice: adds a nice zing and extra tartness to your mocktail. You will need 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, which is about ½ lime.
- Maple syrup: sweetener of choice for this drink as it dissolves easily and adds a deeper sweet flavor. Simple syrup or agave syrup or nectar work too.
- Sparkling water (or soda water): you can use any kind of bubbly water that you like. I used grapefruit soda water from the brand 365, but Italian sparkling water is great if you can find some. Also, I find San Pellegrino to be less "bubbly" than other kinds of sparkling water, if this is something you are looking for. You can also use club soda or tonic water.
- Ice cubes: for serving, this mocktail is best when very cold and chilled!
- Optional: coarse sea salt. The addition of a salty flavor to the tartness and sweetness in this drink is so delicious! Including some salt will make it look closer to a real Paloma drink and use large salt to add a nice crunch too.
Equipment that I recommend
You don't need much to make this drink, but here is what you might need:
- Serving glass: you can use a tall glass for this drink, but what I actually like to use is a stem-free wine glass, it makes this drink look nice and special!
- Citrus press: You might need to use a glass manual citrus juicier as opposed to a hand-held classic citrus press juicer because of the larger size of the grapefruit. You can also simply squeeze the juice using your hands while pressing with a spoon.
- Stirring spoon: to help combine the ingredients.
How to make a non-alcoholic grapefruit mocktail
Making a non-alcoholic paloma drink is very easy and it should come together within a few minutes only.
Juice the citrus and make the sweet fruit syrup
Start by pressing the citrus fruit (grapefruit and lime) and remove the excess pulp and seeds. Grapefruit often has tiny seeds that you might have to remove using a small spoon.
Measure the amounts that you need and then pour them into a small jar or glass. Add the maple syrup and combine. You can taste and adjust sweetness to your preference.
Add sea salt to the rim of the glass (optional)
Pick your serving glass of choice and add some flaky or coarse sea salt to the bottom of a small plate.
Then, use a lime wedge and press it against the rim of your glass, then go all around it.
Then, flip the glass over the plate with the sea salt so it sticks to it.
Combine and serve
To serve, add some ice cubes in the glass and pour the citrus juice mixture into your serving glass. Then, fill it up with sparkling water.
Decorate your delicious drink with more slices of grapefruit and lime, then serve and enjoy right away!
- For a super clear mocktail: make sure to remove the seeds, fiber and pulp from pressing the grapefruit juice manually. If there is too much debris, then consider passing it through a fine mesh colander.
- Taste and adjust your drink: you can taste your grapefruit and see how sweet it is. If it is super tart, then simply add more sweetness to your drink to compensate or consider doing a mix of orange + grapefruit juice to help balance the flavors.
Variations and serving suggestions
This simple mocktail recipe is so easy to customize to your preference! Other than adjusting tartness and sweetness to your taste, here are other serving ideas and flavor boosters:
- Coconut water: for a fun flavor, then you can swap the sparkling water for some coconut water! This would help sweeten the mocktail naturally and add a nice salty taste to it. To keep it a little bubbly, then do half coconut water and half sparkling water.
- Herbal twist: this virgin Paloma would be great paired with some fresh herbs, especially if served during the holiday season. You can make a rosemary grapefruit mocktail by swapping the maple syrup for a rosemary simple syrup or use a homemade thyme syrup for a different flavor profile.
- Ginger: I love mocktails with a ginger flavor, it gives them such a nice kick. You can have a peek at my cranberry mocktail to see how I flavor mocktail with ginger or you can also simply use a ginger-flavored sparkling water or drink, such as ginger ale or ginger soda water.
- Kombucha: swap the regular sparkling water for your favorite kombucha, this would bring such a fun twist to this drink and extra nutrients!
- Orange: you can swap the grapefruit for fresh orange or use half orange juice with half grapefruit juice. This is a great trick to make your drink sweeter naturally.
- Green tea: Including green tea in this mocktail would add a ton of earthy flavor, but also a huge amount of antioxidants and will give you a nice boost of energy. Simply steep one bag of green tea (or 1 teaspoon of loose green tea leaves) in about ½ cup of hot water for about 5 minutes, then remove the bag (or strain). Let the green tea cool down for a few minutes and then combine with your mocktail. Use a larger serving glass to accommodate the extra volume.
- Strawberry grapefruit mocktail: check out this strawberry mocktail recipe to see how you can add a delicious strawberry flavor to your drink!
How can I make it for a crowd?
You can make a pitcher for a family gathering or any event you are hosting. In that case, make 5-7 times the recipe and combine the ingredients in a large pitcher filled with ice cubes and slices of citrus.
To help the process, you can use store-bought grapefruit juice. Look for unsweetened juice from freshly pressed grapefruit and not from concentrate, if possible.
Can I make it ahead?
Given the fact that this mocktail is a sparkly drink, then once the ingredients are combined, you should drink it right away to get the most of the bubbly effect.
That being said, you can prepare the sweet citrusy juice or concentrate (lime juice + grapefruit juice + maple syrup) ahead of time and keep it in the fridge in a sealed jar for a few days. You can make 2-3 times the amount so you can make a few mocktails during the week.
Can I make it without added sugar?
Yes you can. This recipe already is made without refined white sugar, but if you want it completely sweetener-free, then simply do not include the maple syrup. You might want to include some orange juice to add more sweetness naturally.
More mocktail recipes to try
- Blueberry mojito lime mocktail
- Strawberry mojito mocktail
- Blueberry lime mocktail
- Passion fruit mocktail
- Frosty piña colada mocktail
- Watermelon mojito mocktail
- Sparkly cranberry orange ginger mocktail
- Mango mocktail
I hope you like this grapefruit mocktail recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Sparkling Grapefruit Mocktail (Virgin Paloma)
- ¼ cup grapefruit juice - I used freshly pressed
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar or simple syrup - or to taste
- sparkling water - about ½-¾ cup
- ice cubes - to serve
To rim the glass (optional)
- 1 lime or grapefruit wedge
- coarse sea salt
- Start by juicing the grapefruit and lime, then remove the extra pulp and seeds. Measure the juice that you need and pour into a small jar. Stir in the sweetener and set aside.
- Add some coarse sea salt to the bottom of a small plate and run a lime wedge all around the rim of your serving glass. Then, flip the glass onto the plate with the salt so it sticks to it.
- Add some ice cubes to the glass, then pour the grapefruit syrup mixture over. Top it off with sparkling water and add a few slices of grapefruit and lime, if desired. Enjoy right away!
- You can prepare the fruit juice mixture (grapefruit juice + lime juice + maple syrup) ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a few days. You can also make more of it so you can whip up a few mocktails within about 2 minutes later when you need them (which can be a great idea if serving at a party).
- There are a few ways you can customize this recipe, such as including coconut water, adding ginger, mashing some more fruit, etc. Check out the blog post for more ideas!