Some people don’t understand tequila. Of course, you can lick salt, throw back a shot, and bite a lime. Or you can find another level of appreciation and incorporate the best tequila cocktails into your life.
In the list, we’ll go over the classic tequila drinks and find out what makes them unique. But I’m also going to throw some new variations on traditional drinks, some Mexican drinks you might not know of, and some modern tequila cocktails.
You might be shocked to discover that tequila is a versatile and incredible spirit. If you pair it properly, mix it well, and serve it up in style, you can create a masterpiece. It can be an intense cocktail full of flavor or a lovely refreshing drink for a summer day.
Best Tequila Cocktails
Once you’re done reading my list, get ready to pour up one of the best tequila cocktails you’ve ever had.
Likely the most popular tequila cocktail is the classic margarita.
Traditionally, margaritas are a simple combination of tequila, orange liquor, and lime juice served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass.
For me, margaritas bring back memories of hanging out on the beach or enjoying a warm summer day.
There are limitless ways to jazz up the margarita, one of the best tequila cocktails. Some people like to have them blended instead of on the rocks.
I enjoy throwing in additional sugar or syrup, depending on what I have at hand. And of course, it’s great that you can add a variety of different flavors or herbs, so feel free to play around with the ingredients.
If you’re not sure which tequila to use in a margarita, click here.
It might come as a surprise for many, but the margarita is not the first cocktail that many Mexicans think of when it comes to the best tequila cocktails. Instead, they turn to the Paloma.
Once again, the recipe for a Paloma is down to just three ingredients. Tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda are all that you need.
You can also use grapefruit juice and soda water. Pour over a salt-rimmed glass of ice, and you’ll be drinking perhaps the most iconic Mexican tequila cocktail.
When I want to make my drink even easier, I just grab some Squirt soda and add tequila. That’s the most basic version of the Paloma around.
Sometimes the perfect breakfast isn’t complete without a nice beverage.
On your next brunch date, if you want a taste of orange juice but want to skip the mimosas, go for a tequila sunrise. It has tequila, orange juice, and usually a bit of grenadine.
I’m not a big fan of carbonated beverages early on in the day, but I do love the orange juice flavor. It’s a great way to start a fun day without grabbing a glass of bubbles.
Or if you do want to add some fizz, pour in a bit of soda water to transform your tequila sunrise into a tequila sunset.
The love for Bloody Marys is easy to find across the United States. And across the northern border, Canada reaches for the Bloody Caesar.
But if you want to enjoy a similar drink using one of Mexico’s traditional spirits, then the Bloody Maria is where it’s at.
Like all of these, the Bloody Maria is made with tomato or vegetable juice. But instead of the vodka like the Bloody Mary, reach for the tequila instead.
You can go crazy adding ingredients to your Bloody Maria. I recommend adding a good amount of lime juice, plus some of your favorite hot sauce.
Don’t forget the black pepper, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, and horseradish.
The Mexican Mule is a tequila-infused twist on the original Moscow Mule.
And it can be a great way to add a deeper flavor to the drink, and I honestly prefer the Mexican Mule 100% over the Moscow Mule.
This is a simple drink to make, with just tequila, lime juice, and ginger beer. If you want to set your Mexican Mule apart and make one of the best tequila cocktails, grab the highest quality ginger beer you can find.
Don’t go wasting your long-aged anejo tequila with this cocktail. A clean-tasting blanco will sit behind the ginger and lime tastes perfectly well.
One thing that used to turn my head often in Mexico is the lovely clay mugs used for some drinks.
But it took me some time to figure out what they are meant for. It ends up that they hide a delicious fruity drink called the cantarito.
This tequila cocktail is made using tequila and fruit juices. It almost always has lime and grapefruit juice, but it’s also common to use a bit of orange juice and grapefruit soda.
But perhaps the most vital parts of the cantarito are not what is inside. It’s a traditional clay mug rimmed with Tajin or chamoy and garnished with citrus wedges.
El Diablo translates to the devil, but this incredible tequila cocktail is heavenly. And it’s so good, it might get you into trouble.
It incorporates many ingredients we have seen in other cocktails already, blended seamlessly together.
Start with the tequila, of course, then add some creme de cassis (black currant liqueur), lime juice, and ginger beer.
The result is divine and something I’ve used to impress guests many times, especially if you layer the ingredients to show off the bartending skills you never had.
And feel free to mix things up with ginger syrup, ginger ale, or soda water to find the flavor that hits your palate the best.
The jalapeño margarita is a popular take on the classic drink with a spicy zing. I’m borderline addicted to spicy food, so almost any margarita I make is a jalapeño one.
But they’re not for the timid, and sometimes I can get a little carried away.
If you want to keep the spice level low, add a slice or two of jalapeños to the mixer. But if you’re like me and want to crank up the heat, I say add a few more slices and muddle them a bit.
Serve unstrained to allow the heat to continue to rise, or strain out the slices to keep it mild.
Reposado Old Fashioned
I’m not going to lie to you, if you order this drink in a place with a wide selection of whiskey, they might stare at you as if you have a third eye. But don’t let that hold you back.
The Tequila Old Fashioned is one of the best tequila cocktails and can be the perfect way to bring out the best in a quality tequila reposado.
Take some strips of orange zest, twist out the oil into a glass, and add your favorite tequila reposado, a bit of simple syrup, and a dash of bitters.
Throw in the largest ice cube you can get your hands on, stir it up, and garnish with the orange zest slices. You’re going to transport back in time and discover a new world of deliciousness in your tequila.
On hot summer days, I don’t like to be overwhelmed with too much sugar.
And that’s when the ranch water cocktail is the perfect option. It’s refreshing, light, and easy to make. Perfect after a long day of work.
There’s no need to go scooping water out of the horse trough. To make your ranch water, pour some tequila blanco, lime juice, and soda water into a glass of ice. Done and done.
If you want to be a stickler, you can look for Topo Chico mineral water. It’s the traditional way to bring a taste of Mexico to wherever you are.
There are many variations of collins drinks, but if you want to discover one of the best tequila cocktails, put down the whiskey and grab a respectable tequila blanco to make a tequila collins, also known as a Juan or Jose Collins.
Add your tequila, some fresh lime juice, a sweetener of your choice, and soda water.
To add to the tequila base, I like to use agave nectar as the sweetener instead of simple syrup.
It comes from the same plant tequila is distilled from and brings the flavor together.
And don’t miss out on the taste of fresh lime juice. The imitation and condensed products can destroy the flavor.
If you like to order your drinks up, we have just the recipe. A siesta cocktail blends a bit of Mexican spirit with an Italian taste. And the result is divine.
Add tequila, Campari, grapefruit juice, and lime juice to your shaker, then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
The pungent burst of Campari will fill your mouth as the grapefruit and lime juice flood over your tongue.
I love this rare combination that brings a lot of flavor to the table and keeps your tastebuds happy.
If you can’t get enough coffee and tequila in your life, then I have a special treat.
You can now add the two flavors together and create one of the best tequila cocktails.
And even better, the recipe for the Brave Bull is about as simple as it gets.
Take some tequila blanco and add Kahlúa coffee liqueur to a glass with ice. Stir and sip away!
Don’t blame me if your mornings start to feel like they’re missing something when you realize this could be part of your life. It’s a unique combination of flavors that does best with quality tequila.
Want something tangy and refreshing? Then call out for a tequila sour.
It takes some of the margarita flavors and throws them into the classic sour cocktail popular in the 1920s.
The basic recipe is simple. It’s tequila, lime juice, lemon juice, and agave syrup or simple syrup. But if you like a bit more flavor like me, dash in some Angostura bitters.
There’s another secret to an incredible tequila sour. Egg whites. Add a touch to your shaker for a frothy texture and a creamy flavor. Shake first without ice to bring up the froth.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people mention George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila.
Well, his likeness is coming to the table once again in this drink. The Danny Ocean is one of the best tequila cocktails and is a nod to Mr. Clooney’s character in the Ocean movies.
And just like the character, it is a sophisticated cocktail that’ll have your tongue filled with joy.
This time you’ll want to reach for tequila reposado, then add in maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and agave nectar.
Shake it up and serve over a glass with ice.
Most purists will take a good tequila and sip it with perhaps a bit of lime and salt on the side.
But you can also turn to the martini-like Tequini to keep the spirit’s flavor front and center.
Like the classic martini, you’ll want to take a quality tequila (usually blanco but maybe reposado) and add in a small amount of dry vermouth and a few dashes of aromatic bitters.
Even though I love a classic dirty martini, I skip the olives and garnish a tequini with a lime or lemon twist instead. The flavor profile is much better, in my opinion.
Michelada con Tequila
I consider myself quite unlucky in my michelada discovery. It took far too long for me to find out about this amazing drink that brings together beer with tomato and clam juice.
And the tequila michelada is just another way to crank up the volume.
Micheladas are a lot like Bloody Marys. Everyone has their recipe, but it’s mainly a tomato juice and Clamato juice base spiced up with lime juice, salt, black pepper, hot sauce, and soy sauce.
Serve that into a tall glass rimmed with salt and full of ice, then pour a beer on top.
To make the tequila version, add in your desired amount of tequila! It’s great for times when the low-alcohol lagers don’t do the trick.
Best Tequila Cocktails
- Tequila Sunrise
- Bloody Maria
- Mexican Mule
- El Diablo
- Jalapeño Margarita
- Reposado Old Fashioned
- Ranch Water
- Tequila Collins
- Siesta Cocktail
- Brave Bull
- Tequila Sour
- Danny Ocean
- The Tequini
- Michelada con Tequila
And there you have it. A full list of the best tequila cocktails. Were you surprised by the variety of drinks tequila can be used in? Are you ready to start discovering this new world of flavor?
Don’t forget to grab a decent quality tequila blanco or reposado for most of these recipes. It’s the heart of the drink and you want it to come through well.
It’s probably best to leave the top-shelf anejos for a time when you want to skip the cocktail and sip on the spirit alone. Not sure about the difference? Learn what the different kinds of tequila are to improve your knowledge.
Now that you know the best tequila cocktails, find the ingredients and pour some up for you and your friends.
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