When Cinco De Mayo rolls around every year, it’s perfectly understandable that you want to grab the best Tequila you can find, bottle some freshly squeezed lime juice (or lemon juice), and pull out some Cointreau (or Grand Marnier , which is a triple sec and cognac hybrid) to start beating a batch of classic margarita for your friends. Don’t. Not this year, at least. They’d be more impressed if you could show off the range of your cocktail skills (and knowledge) by hustling margarita alternatives that are just as easy to make and deserve just as much recognition. You want to be that guy who knows all kinds of tequila cocktails to whip up at will, so to help you out, here are five of our favorite easy tequila drinks that highlight just how versatile tequila can be as a cocktail. mind.
We’re not going to obscure you for this one. In all likelihood, you’ve heard of these tequila cocktail recipes before and tried them before, but it’s always easy to overlook them since society’s fierce appetite for a margarita almost always eclipses everything else.
And it’s a margarita in any form, mind you. The drink has become so ridiculously popular in recent years thanks to variations like the spicy margarita or a Tommy’s margarita with agave syrup (or agave nectar) instead of orange liqueur. It’s no wonder that casual drinkers rarely stray to equally delicious alternatives like Tequila sunrise or a simple Tequila sour. That doubles once you get addicted to a high-end Cadillac margarita (which is actually just a high margin using high-end tequila, Grand Mariner, and fresh lime juice). Indeed, they are hard to resist, but once you master these other tequila cocktail recipes, you may never go back to a margarita again.
The best tequila cocktails that aren’t a margarita are usually just as quick and easy to make. Just like we did with the classic gin and gin and tonic, we’ve sorted out our favorite margarita alternatives that we think will help you up your cocktail game considerably.
Whether you have ginger beer on hand or have immediate access to grapefruit ale; pineapple juice or orange juice, or even tomato juice. It’s no surprise that Tequila is so adaptable – as long as it’s of good quality – that the spirit plays perfectly with a wide variety of ingredients beyond your typical tart rim of lime and salt.
And there are plenty to choose from, from the popular Tequila Negroni to the aforementioned Sour Tequila. While these are all awesome, we’ve highlighted 5 that we think are flying too far under the radar (and one – the Paloma – that deserves a resurgence this Cinco De Mayo).
RELATED: How to Master the Margarita in 90 Seconds or Less
The 5 Best Tequila Cocktails (That Aren’t a Margarita)
Cider on the sidelines
The Sideline Cider was created by Jesse Powell, a bartender from Ponca City, Oklohama, who stirred this under-the-radar classic for Patron a few years ago. It has since become one of the brand’s signature services, using Patrón Añejo and making the profile work remarkably well with apple cider.
Since Australia has some of the best apple cider in the world (from Tasmania), you should have plenty of leeway to elevate this cocktail even further than anyone else in the US. Just make sure you have some Willie Smith’s, a bottle of Patrón Añejo and some fresh lemon on hand. Your friends will be impressed.
- 60 mlAnejo pattern
- 45ml apple cider
- 22.5ml simple syrup
- 22.5ml fresh lemon juice
- Grated cinnamon for garnish
- Lemon wedge for garnish
- Add all ingredients to a glass mug over standard ice.
- Grate the cinnamon chips on top and garnish with a lemon wedge.
- For a hot version, slowly heat all the ingredients in a saucepan before adding them to the glass mug.
Yes, you’ve heard of a Paloma and chances are you already know how to make a killer version of the classic, summertime essential Tequila cocktail. A reminder won’t hurt though. Especially since it must be hard to see past the density of the margarita and its many versions the next time you take to the menu at your local tequila bar.
The Paloma is said to have been created in the legendary La Capilla cocktail bar in Tequila, Mexico, by owner Don Javier Delgado Corona. It has since become one of the most popular tequila cocktails, renowned for its simplicity and refreshing fruity profile thanks to the fresh grapefruit juice and sparkling water. Get those two key ingredients just right and you’ll see why a Paloma should take precedence over a margarita if you and your friends love something as nice but not as sour.
Just make sure you have a really good Tequila on hand, because the Paloma is so expressive and well-balanced that a cheap Tequila really has nowhere to hide in this highball.
- 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon of grapefruit zest
- crushed ice
- 45 ml Tequila blanco or Tequila reposado
- 100ml fresh grapefruit juice
- 15ml lime juice
- 10ml sugar syrup
- 1 lime wedge for garnish
- carbonated water
- First, mix the sea salt and grapefruit zest in a shallow dish until combined.
- Rim the rim of the glass with a wedge of lime, then roll the glass in the salt mixture until the rim is coated.
- Fill the glass with crushed ice.
- Add tequila, lime juice and sugar syrup.
- Top up with grapefruit juice and sparkling water.
- Garnish with dried grapefruit slices (optional)
Most margarita drinkers (or anyone new to tequila cocktails) have probably never heard of a vampiro before, but if you’re lucky enough to be in Mexico during Cinco De Mayo, you’ll surely come back. very familiar with the name.
The festive cocktail calls for a high ball glass, good quality tomato juice (or if you want something more traditional, pomegranate juice) and, if you really want to take the taste to the next level, Worcestershire sauce . Yes, it might sound a bit risky, and to be honest it is, but consider it a next-level Bloody Mary and you’ll be a fan in no time.
- Fine smoked sea salt
- 40ml white tequila
- 10ml mescal
- 20ml of pasta
- 5ml lemon juice
- 10ml lime juice
- 5ml pomegranate
- 10ml Worcestershire sauce
- 3 pinches of pepper sauce or tabasco
- Chill a high ball glass or a small wine glass.
- Brush the glass with a little water around the rim and dip it in fine smoked salt until it is well coated.
- Put all the cocktail ingredients in the bottom of a shaker and mix well.
- Stir the drink until the shaker is cold.
- Strain into the glass filled with ice.
Someone somewhere got tired of drinking the same old Moscow Mule and added a little spice to it. That’s more or less the origin story of the Mexican mule, which gets much of its distinctive profile from spicy ginger mixed with zesty lime. It is by no means a kind of drink, but very few people would be able to drink it once they got used to the singular profile.
There’s a lot of bite to this one, and thankfully it’s incredibly easy to make considering all you need is good quality tequila, fresh lime juice and ginger beer. Extra points if you also shave with real ginger.
- 50ml Tequila
- Ginger beer (Bundaberg ginger beer plays great in this cocktail)
- 25ml fresh lime juice
- 10ml sugar syrup
- 2 small pieces of ginger
- 1 lime wedge for garnish
- Crush the ginger and mix the rest of the ingredients in a shaker.
- Shake well then strain into a copper cup.
- Garnish with ginger beer.
- Add crushed ice last, then a wedge of lime to garnish.
Here’s another using ginger beer, but the punchy La Branca is much more complex and layered than the Mexican Mule. You’ll want to grab Fernet-Branca for this one, which is the definitive ingredient given that the Italian bitter, hailing from Milan, is known for its slightly grassy, methanol-like quality.
The grassy character plays well when layered with herbaceous Tequila Anejo, a dimension made even more interesting by a spicy and sweet ginger beer. As above, you may want to use Bundaberg Ginger Beer as it is so adaptable for a recipe like this.
- 45ml Tequila Anejo
- 15ml Fernet Branca
- 15ml lime juice
- 10ml sugar syrup
- Ginger beer (preferably chilled)
- Lime wedge to garnish
- Crushed ice
- Take a Collins or Highball glass and fill it with crushed ice (use a short glass if you prefer to taste more Fernet-Branca than ginger beer)
- First add Anejo Tequila, then layer on Fernet-Branca and fresh lime juice.
- Stir well then top up with ginger beer.
- Decorate with a wedge of lemon.
Want more? Check out three more Tequila cocktails that are perfect for the warmer months.
Best Tequila Cocktails – Frequently Asked Questions
How many versions of the margarita are there?
There are at least 20 different versions of a margarita that are popular around the world. These include the healthier Tommy’s margarita, spicy margarita, premium Cadillac margarita, blood orange margarita, lavender margarita, pineapple juice matador margarita and many more.
Is the paloma a good cocktail?
A Paloma may be overshadowed by the most unmissable margarita, but in the summer it is undoubtedly the drink of choice in Mexico. Anyone who celebrates Cinco De Mayo while lazing in the sun with a drink in hand would be remiss if they didn’t at least try to put the margarita in favor of a Paloma.
What are the best tequila recipes?
The best Tequila recipes, at least those that aren’t a margarita or its many variations, include the Paloma, La Branca, Vampiro, and Sideline Cider.