Ahh tequila, the Mexican classic is the sort of drink you love in the evening but loathe the day after. It’s a fierce spirit to consume on its own - although some people love it this way - but when mixed up into the best tequila cocktails, it becomes dangerously easy to drink all night long!
Tequila is distilled from the agave plant, and its unique taste and aroma give this fiery alcoholic beverage a wonderful range of excellent pairing opportunities. There are the classic easy tequila drinks, like a Margarita or the Mexican Mule, then there's the heavy-duty Bloody Maria or simple tequila drink recipes like Tequila and Coke.
There's a lot to think about, so you might be wondering what to mix with tequila when you're at home. Let's look at how to drink tequila 'properly' and the best tequila cocktails to mix up in your shakers!
What are the best mixers for tequila?
Tequila is unlike many other spirits. It's technically a type ofMezcal, a strong spirit distilled from the agave plant, a cacti-like plant that's commonly grown in Mexico.
Tequila has a reputation, there’s no doubt, but it’s a fantastically versatile spirit that can be enjoyed neat or mixed with a wide variety of different beverages.
- There’s no single best thing to mix with tequila, but there are a few mixers that always go down particularly well.
- Tequila goes well with fizzy drinks like lemonade or tonic or with still juices like orange or tomato.
- Drinks with tequila can be sweet or savory, they can be strong or weak, and most importantly, they can be refreshing.
This is a drink that’s meant to be mixed as a refresher, so never forget the ice in any of your tequila mixed drinks. We recommend using an ice ball maker for the clearest ice. This keeps impurities out of your cocktail, and because the ice takes longer to melt, your drink isn’t diluted as quickly as with regular ice!
Can tequila be mixed with anything?
We’d go for yes. Tequila can be mixed withalmostanything. There’s very little that doesn’t go well with tequila, and it’s easy to mix great drinks at home with a bottle of tequila, some ice, and the mixers you might have lying around the kitchen.
Here’s a rundown of what goes good with tequila. These are the best tequila and mixer combos:
- Tequila and lemonade
- Tequila and coke
- Tequila and soda
- Tequila and tonic
- Tequila and pineapple juice
- Tequila and orange juice
- Tequila and grapefruit juice
- Tequila and tomato juice
- Tequila and ginger beer
- Tequila and agave syrup
- Tequila and vermouth
These are just basic spirit and mixer combos. Select your tequila, pick your mixer, add ice, and shake all the ingredients together for a simple tequila cocktail!
Classic tequila cocktails
But there are also a lot of established drinks to make with tequila. There’s a long history of cocktail mixing when it comes to tequila, and the classic tequila cocktails are perfect for sipping on a hot summer’s day or for getting the party started!
Here are our favorite classic tequila cocktails, and they are all easy enough to mix at home.
- Margarita - the ultimate tequila cocktail. The classic Margarita needs tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. It’s served over ice, perhaps with lime for garnish.
- Tequila sunrise - another popular cocktail that looks as good as it tastes. You need tequila, orange juice, and grenadine to create a distinctive sunrise look.
- Bloody Maria - a twist on the Bloody Mary, this cocktail uses tequila as its base instead of vodka. Mix together with tomato juice, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and salt, pepper, and celery. Add chili peppers or cayenne pepper powder for a fiery Mexican Bloody Maria!
- Paloma - mix tequila with lime and grapefruit juice to prepare this classic summer cocktail.
- Mexican Mule - instead of vodka, the Mexican Mule mixes tequila with ginger beer. Serve ice cold in a classic copper jug for the best results!
How do you drink tequila properly?
Classic tequila cocktails are for the tourists, though, because traditionally, good tequila is supposed to be drunk on its own accord. That’s right; the best tequila needs to be consumed without any mixers - otherwise, you’re just diluting the taste!
Unfortunately, a lot of the cheaper, mass-marketed tequilas aren’t the nicest to drink on their own (which is why they end up in the cocktails instead!).
Drink the oldest tequila you can find!
The older, the better, when it comes to tequila. The more aging a tequila has had, the better it’s going to taste. Classic tequila is aged in oak barrels for the best flavors!
Tequila generally falls into five categories, which are dependant on age:
- Blanco - unaged, clear tequila that has been left to mature for 2 months or less.
- Joven - gold colored tequila that has been aged for 2 months or less.
- Reposado - tequila that has been aged for at least 2 months, but less than 1 year.
- Añejo - tequila aged for 1 to 3 years in oak barrels.
- Extra Añejo - the best tequila! Aged for 3 years or more in oak barrels.
Tequila has to be served cold!
You can't drink warm tequila; it just doesn't fly in Mexico. Aged tequila is served up cold, and traditionally, it's served 'neat.'
Tequila should be kept in the fridge to ensure it's cold enough to enjoy. We recommend serving it on the rocks with a cold ice cube. Use clear ice to avoid diluting the flavor of the tequila itself.
There's no point investing in an expensive, oak-aged bottle of tequila if you don't have the best ice to accompany it!
Don’t shot tequila; sip tequila!
Drinking tequila is an experience. It's an event, and you need to take your time to enjoy the aroma and tequila flavors.
For that reason, tequila shouldn't be shot back. It's not a quick drink but a drink that needs to be sipped.
Likewise, there's no need for salt or lime to take the edge away when sipping tequila. Save these for your margarita cocktails.
Let’s start mixing tequila cocktails at home!
Tequila is a fantastically versatile spirit. While it's a staple spirit in bars all over the world, don't forget that there's more to tequila than shots and margaritas. Tequila goes well with an immense range of different mixers, so why not try a Bloody Maria or a Paloma too?
The tequila cocktail isn't exactly traditional, though, and it's well worth investing in a high-end bottle of tequila to enjoy it the 'proper' way; chilled and neat. Why not bookmark our guide to tequila cocktails, so you know the best way to drink this famed Mexican spirit?