Mexican Candy Shot

Get any fiesta started with a round of sweet-and-spicy Mexican Candy Shots. These candy-inspired shots blend tequila, watermelon schnapps and a touch of hot sauce, all rimmed with zesty Tajín seasoning.

Two glasses of pink cocktails with charred lime garnishes and chili-salted rims, on a white textured surface with scattered spices.

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Mexican Candy Shot: Sweet, sour and spicy

Ah, college — a time of exploration, experimentation and, of course, shots, shots, shots.

Back in those days, we were all about quick fixes and cheap thrills. But as an adult, I’ve been delighted that shot recipes have evolved while tastes have matured. (These days, I sip them a lot slower though!)

The Mexican Candy Shot is a perfect example, inspired by the popular Mexican paleta candy. With flavors of sweet watermelon, zesty lime and spicy chiles, along with a bite of tequila, it’s a party in itself.

Let’s get into everything you need to know to make this sweet and refreshing shot.

More shot recipes: Chocolate Cake ShotGreen Tea ShotBirthday Cake ShotIrish Breakfast Shot

A glass of red cocktail garnished with a charred lime slice and a rim coated in spicy salt, set against a white background with scattered spices.

Why you’ll love this recipe

You are going to adore this simple shot recipe that has layers of flavor:

  • Mexican Candy Shots offer a fun twist on your usual tequila shots.
  • These colorful, flavorful shots are perfect for parties.
  • The layers of flavor in this shot — zippy tequila, spicy hot sauce, sweet watermelon and tart lime — create a sweet, candy-like experience.

These shots are a great party drink recipe that can be served for tailgates, weekend house parties, Friday nights at home, bachelor/bachelorette parties and Cinco de Mayo fiestas. You can even double the recipe and enjoy it as a Mexican Candy Margarita or Martini.

Two glasses of watermelon cocktail garnished with grilled lime, rimmed with spicy salt on a white surface, with watermelon slices in the background.

What is a Mexican Candy Shot?

Also called the Paleta Shot and the Mexican Lollipop Shot, the Mexican Candy Shot is an alcoholic shooter recipe made with tequila, watermelon pucker and hot sauce, plus a spicy Tajín or Chamoy rim.

While the exact origin of this shot recipe is murky, the idea behind it is not. The flavors are inspired by a real Mexican candy known as Rebanaditas paleta con chile. These are watermelon-flavored lollipops that are dipped in a mild chili seasoning for a sweet-and-spicy experience.

A hand placing a grilled lime slice on a glass rimmed with red spice, beside a drink with similar contents and a shaker in the background.

Tools & glassware

Ready to make your own Mexican Candy Shots? Here’s what you will need:

  • Shallow bowl or plate: You’ll need something to rim the shot glasses. You can also use a bar mat with spaces for rimming.
  • Shot glasses: Ideally, use 1.5-ounce shot glasses. But if you’re making a big batch (versus just one at a time), any size will work.
  • Cocktail shaker: This is the easiest way to combine the ingredients for a few shots at a time.
A vibrant cocktail with a chili-salt rim and a charred lime garnish, served in a glass with a star pattern. a bottle of hot sauce is in the background.

Ingredients

You only need a few simple ingredients to make this Mexican Candy Shot recipe. Here’s what to grab at the grocery store:

  • Tequila: Pick up a blanco tequila for these. Some people use vodka in these shots, but tequila is Mexican, so it makes the most sense. However, I hear that the Spicy Tamarind Smirnoff Vodka is a good choice, though I’ve not tried it.
  • Watermelon schnapps: Also called Watermelon Pucker, this pink melon-flavored liqueur has a delicious summery flavor and hot pink color. If you can’t find it, watermelon juice mixed with simple syrup can work too.
  • Hot sauce: My favorite hot sauce to have on hand for anything is Cholula, but there are many options. Valentina, Tapatio or Tabasco are all great brands to try with these. You can make them as spicy or mild as you like!
  • Chili-lime seasoning: Dusted onto the rim of each shot glass, chili-lime seasoning adds an extra salty-spicy kick to these shots. You can make your own with chili powder or pick up a bottle of Tajín, a Mexican brand of this seasoning. Alternatively, you can rim the glasses with Chamoy.

If you like, you can garnish them with a lime wedge (or a lightly charred lime wedge like mine — I love my cocktail smoker so much!).

Top view of a vibrant orange cocktail garnished with a charred lime slice on a salt-rimmed glass, displayed next to halved grilled limes on a wooden board.

Best tequila

Blanco, or silver tequila, is best for these shots because it is clear and colorless, letting the pink watermelon color shine.

Gold tequila has added caramel color to make it appear aged, and it will alter the color of these pretty pink shots. I don’t recommend it for these, but it will taste just fine if you use it.

My favorite tequila brands right now are Sauza, El Jimador and Lunazul, but use your favorite!

Two glasses of watermelon cocktail garnished with grilled lime, rimmed with spicy salt on a white surface, with watermelon slices in the background.

Variations and substitutions

With vodka: Use plain vodka instead of tequila or use a flavored vodka like Smirnoff Tamarindo, which is a tamarind-flavored vodka.

Spicier shots: Use jalapeño-infused tequila or use a spicier hot sauce like El Yucateco. It’s made with habanero peppers, which are spicier than jalapeños.

Milder shots: Use less hot sauce or skip it entirely. To me, the chili-lime seasoning isn’t as spicy as hot sauce, so it adds a kick to the shot-drinking experience without overpowering you with spiciness. However, if you’re sensitive to chili-lime seasoning, you can use a regular salt rim.

Cocktail version: Double the recipe and pour it into a margarita glass to make this a cocktail. We’ll call it the Mexican Candy drink, instead.

Other flavors: Have fun with other flavors, like strawberry schnapps, mango schnapps or peach schnapps.

Instructions

Ready to make a round of Mexican Candy Shots? Let’s go! You can make just one, or you can mix up a few at a time in your shaker.

A hand tipping a glass tumbler to sprinkle red salt onto a plate, with a wedge of lime nearby.
A person pours water into a textured glass beside a lime wedge and a dish of chili flakes, with brass objects in the background.

First, rim the shot glasses. Place Tajín seasoning on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of the glass or dip it in lime juice and shake off any excess. Roll the rim of the glasses in the seasoning to coat the rim.

Pouring a pink beverage into a textured glass, with a lime wedge and spices on the side, on a white surface.
Pouring red liquid into a textured glass, with a slice of lime and a bowl of spices on a white background.

Then, fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add tequila, watermelon schnapps and a dash or two of hot sauce to the shaker — or as much as you like. Shake vigorously until well-chilled.

A person pouring a reddish drink from a gold shaker into a small glass rimmed with spices. a lime wedge and spices on a plate are visible in the background.

Strain into the prepared shot glasses and enjoy! Always enjoy alcoholic shots responsibly, please.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Chill your shot glasses before rimming them with Tajín seasoning to keep them nice and cold.
  • Adjust the amount of hot sauce according to your spiciness preference. Start with a small dash and add more if you like it hotter.
  • Serve them immediately after shaking to enjoy them at their freshest and most flavorful.
Two glasses of watermelon juice with a charred lime wedge on the rim, placed beside a plate of watermelon slices, on a white background.

Food pairings

Mexican candy shots are, of course, more fun with homemade Mexican candy! You can also serve them with fresh watermelon.

For a party, serve up some other Mexican foods like pork tacos, guacamole or queso fundido.

For dessert, some margarita bars would be fantastic.

FAQ

What can I use instead of Tajín on the rim?

If you don’t have Tajín, you can use margarita salt on the rim instead, or skip this step altogether. You can also use Chamoy sauce on the rim.

How spicy is a Mexican candy shot?

The level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference by adding more or less hot sauce. Start with a small amount and taste test before adding more. You can also skip the Tajín rim if you are sensitive to spice. If you like them even spicier, use a spicy tequila.

Can I prepare the shot in advance for a party?

Absolutely. You can prepare the mixture in advance and keep it chilled until ready to serve. Just give it a good shake before pouring it into shot glasses to re-mix the ingredients.

More tequila recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

Two glasses of pink cocktails with charred lime garnishes and chili-salted rims, on a white textured surface with scattered spices.

Mexican Candy Shot

Yield: 1 shot
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Spice up your next party with a delicious and unique Mexican Candy Shot, inspired by the popular paleta candy. Learn how to make the best sweet and spicy shot.
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ingredients

  • 1 ounce tequila
  • ½ ounce watermelon schnapps such as Watermelon Pucker
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • lime wedge for the rim
  • chili-lime seasoning for the rim

instructions

  • Place chili-lime seasoning (or salt) on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of the glass. Roll the rim of the glasses in the seasoning to coat the rim.
  • To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the tequila, watermelon schnapps and hot sauce.
  • Shake well and strain into the prepared shot glasses.

notes

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:
  • Chill your shot glasses before rimming them with Tajín seasoning to keep them nice and cold.
  • Adjust the amount of hot sauce according to your spiciness preference. Start with a small dash and add more if you like it hotter.
  • Serve them immediately after shaking to enjoy them at their freshest and most flavorful. 

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

nutrition information

Yield: 1 shot

amount per serving:

Serving: 2ounces Calories: 102kcal Carbohydrates: 3g Sodium: 6mg Potassium: 1mg Sugar: 3g Vitamin A: 0.3IU Vitamin C: 0.1mg Calcium: 0.02mg Iron: 0.01mg
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