A Mexican distilled spirit fermented from the juice of the agave plant, tequila is one of the world's cornerstone liquors and is used in dozens of cocktails from around the world. Below you'll find a list of some of the best tequila cocktails for expanding your cocktail-making skills.
What Mixes Well with Tequila?
Tequila is a popular spirit used for cocktails because it pairs well with many different flavors. From fresh lime to hot sauce, there are a lot of flavor notes that help to balance the fire in tequila and its sharp flavor.
Some flavors which mix well with tequila:
- Lime juice: A common foundation in cocktails with tequila bases, the citrus in lime juice is a good counterbalance to the sharp sweetness in tequila. The strong aroma of limes also helps to mask some of the tequila's smell.
- Grapefruit juice/grapefruit-flavored soda: Tequila pairs well with strong flavors. As a result of the bitterness of a grapefruit wedge, the flavor makes a delicious counterpoint to the tequila.
- Soda water: The bubbly carbonation in soda water helps cut the strength of aged tequila. So, it can act as a vehicle for the aroma of both the tequila and other mixers.
- Tomato juice: Tomato juice is a base ingredient for a classic tequila cocktail known as the Bloody Maria. The tequila-based cocktail is similar to the classic Bloody Mary cocktail that is traditionally made with vodka.
- Citrus juices: Even though a wedge or squeeze of lime is considered the traditional pairing with tequila, other citrus juices also pair well with tequila. These include pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice.
- Coconut water: The creamy, refreshing mouthfeel of coconut water helps to cut the sharpness of tequila drinks. So the coconut water will also pair well with other strong tropical flavors such as orange liqueur or lime juice.
- Aloe juice: While the agave plant and aloe plants look similar, these two desert-dwelling succulents are not related. However, the flavors of these plants do act as a nice pairing with each other.
Whether you prefer your tequila with ginger ale or crème de cassis, there are plenty of things you can mix with tequila to make a delicious cocktail.
Most Popular Tequila Cocktails
There are dozens of cocktails with tequila bases that are famous around the world. Certainly, you will be able to find these popular tequila cocktails below in just about any self-respecting bar.
1. The Best Margaritas
No article about tequila cocktails could be complete without the iconic margarita. A classic margarita has no added simple syrup. But Career Girl Meets offers us this jazzed-up version.
The cocktail features delicious finishing touches like Grand Marnier, gold tequila, agave nectar, and a mixing glass with a salt rim.
The key to a perfect margarita is to use high-quality ingredients and shake vigorously. You can also add triple sec to taste.
2. Paloma Cocktail with Grapefruit Soda
The Paloma is a classic cocktail with a tequila base that features grapefruit soda. It is unlike Greyhounds or other liquor-based grapefruit cocktails.
For this cocktail, the Paloma includes a touch of fresh lime juice to help complement the tequila, along with some simple syrup and soda water.
This version at Love and Lemons features fresh grapefruit juice and sparkling mineral water as a replacement for the traditional grapefruit-flavored soda.
3. Tequila sunrise
Along with the margarita, the Tequila Sunrise might be one of the most popular tequila cocktails in the world. The mixed drink features a mixture of orange juice, tequila, fresh ice, and grenadine syrup.
It is a punchy drink that makes a good option for people who prefer a sweeter tequila cocktail. Check out this classy version from Food Network.
4. Mexican Mule
The original version of this cocktail is the Moscow Mule. In the actual drink, there is a combination of tangy lime, vodka, and ginger beer.
But this tequila drink from A Couple Cooks, the Mexican Mule, features tequila as a replacement for the vodka.
Serve the mule in a copper mug for the full effect of the cocktail. Either reposado tequila or blanco tequila can be used.
5. Bloody Maria
For another cocktail that replaces vodka with tequila, you'll want to try this mixed drink. It is also one of the best cocktails with a tequila base out there.
The Bloody Maria mixes tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, olive juice, black pepper, tequila, and other ingredients in a cocktail shaker for a savory cocktail different than the usual sweet tequila drinks.
Get the recipe at Liquor.com.
Classic Tequila Cocktails
There are many tequila cocktails in the world, but some of them have stood the test of time better than others. Below you'll find some classic cocktails with a tequila base that you can use to impress your guests.
6. long Island Iced Tea
A Long Island Iced Tea is a very strong cocktail. It is a mixed drink that features tequila along with several other spirits.
The result should ideally be a dangerously mellow concoction that will get you buzzed in a hurry.
Be sure to add ice (and lots of it). Try this version from Food Network with some good tequila, preferably silver tequila, for the smoothest possible flavor.
7. Tequila Collins with Lemon Juice
Many people have had an old-fashioned Collins traditionally made with whiskey or vodka in a highball glass. However, tequila can also be used.
This bubbly cocktail from The Spruce Eats features lemon juice, agave nectar, and sparkling water for a refreshing summer drink.
8. Tequila Sangria
Tequila Sangria is a punch that is full of tropical flavors and is as sweet as a Bloody Mary is savory. This drink pairs zingy lime with other citrus flavors like orange juice, Grand Marnier, and red wine.
Try this wintery tequila punch over at Savor Paradise.
9. El Diablo with Lime Juice
El Diablo is another cocktail with a tequila base that features ginger beer paired with crème de cassis and lime juice in a cocktail glass. Garnish instructions: Garnish with a lime wheel that has been dusted in chili powder for a spicy finishing touch.
Get the recipe from Nutmeg Nanny.
Cantarito is a popular tequila cocktail served in Mexico and features a mixture of lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit soda, and reposado tequila.
While the classic margarita is probably the most popular tequila cocktail in the world, the Cantarito gives it a run for its money in the flavor department.
Learn to make your own at Cooking with Janica.
Easy Tequila Cocktails
Making tequila cocktails can be complicated depending on how many ingredients you decide to add. However, some of the best tequila cocktails are also some of the easiest to make.
Check the list below for some simple tequila cocktails that can be thrown together with minimum ingredients involved.
11. Ranch Water
While some people may consider Ranch Water a watered-down version of a classic margarita, this refreshing cocktail is a snap to make. It can be put together with little more than tequila and lime juice.
Mix blanco tequila, club soda, and lime juice together for the foundation of this cocktail. Get the recipe at Southern Living.
12. Tequila Sour
This mashup cocktail, effectively a hybrid of a Boston Sour and a classic margarita, is usually served in a lowball glass. Lime juice and agave syrup give this combination a traditional tequila cocktail flavor. But adding egg white and bitters gives it a bit of a sour flair.
Try building your own tequila sour at A Couple Cooks.
13. Tequila Old-Fashioned
Here's another classic tequila cocktail that is a variation on a cocktail traditionally made with other spirits. While the traditional Old-Fashioned is made with bourbon, a Tequila Old-Fashioned like this recipe from Garnish With Lemon replaces it with tequila instead.
Try adding a dash of orange liqueur or pineapple juice to taste. Doing so will help balance out the sharpness of the tequila.
14. Salty Chihuahua
Similar to a Greyhound or Salty Dog, which features a mixture of grapefruit juice and vodka, the Salty Chihuahua is a tequila cocktail that combines grapefruit juice, Cointreau, and tequila with jalapeno slices to garnish.
Try adding club soda to make your Salty Chihuahua a sparkling drink, and don't forget the salt-rimmed glass. Get the recipe at Wide Open Eats.
15. Pineapple Lime Cooler
While everybody loves a margarita, sometimes you're in the mood for something a little different. This pineapple lime cooler at Katie's Cucina combines tequila with pineapple juice and lime juice for a sweet, quenching drink that is delicious any time of the year.
Tequila Cocktails FAQ
What Is the Best Way to Drink Tequila?
With high-quality tequila, many purists believe that the best way to drink tequila is straight-up. Instead of mixing tequila into a cocktail, the most popular way to drink the spirit is straight.
Rather than mixing some unofficial drink in a salted rim glass, tequila is commonly consumed in shots.
To take a shot of tequila, you’ll need:
- Some salt
- A lime wedge
- Your favorite shot glass
Instructions for correctly taking tequila shots:
- Place a line of salt on the edge of your hand. After that, leave the wedge ready and waiting in the rim of your tequila shot.
- Lick the salt off the edge of your hand, then take the lime wedge off the shot glass and drink the tequila.
- Suck on the lime wedge to help kill the aftertaste of the tequila shot.
One reason the method above is so popular is that drinking tequila straight allows drinkers to get drunk much faster than drinking a margarita.
How Many Shots of Tequila Will Get You Drunk?
The number of tequila shots that will get you drunk depends on several factors. Here are some things to consider when you're trying to figure out how much you can safely drink:
- Sex: Men can typically tolerate higher amounts of alcohol than women due to increased body mass and metabolic differences.
- Weight: People who weigh more are able to drink more alcohol and maintain a lower alcohol blood volume than those who weigh less. Typically, the lighter you are, the faster you will get drunk.
- Tolerance: People who regularly drink alcohol build up a tolerance to its effects. On the other hand, those who rarely drink will get drunk more quickly.
When drinking tequila, the safest bet is to take a shot and then wait at least fifteen minutes before taking another.
This will allow you to get drunk in a slower, more controlled way than taking several shots of tequila back-to-back.
It's also a good idea to drink water with your shots to prevent excess intoxication and a hangover the next day.
What Alcohols Should Not Be Mixed with Tequila?
There are no hard and fast rules about which types of alcohol can be mixed with tequila. This versatile liquor has been paired with everything from white rum to Bailey's Irish cream liqueur.
However, mixing tequila with very sugary mixers or other strong liquors can increase your chances of getting too drunk or being hungover.
What Is the Best Juice to Mix with Tequila?
Tequila traditionally mixes well with citrus fruits, like lime juice, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and orange juice. They are all useful mixers to experiment with tequila cocktails.
Pineapple is also a popular juice choice for sweeter tequila drinks.
Tequila Cocktails Conclusion
Tequila is the cornerstone for some of the world's most delicious cocktails. Hopefully, this list of different tequila cocktails above will give you a jumping-off point to start some mixed drink adventures of your own!