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Salt? Check. Limes? Got ‘em. July 24th is National Tequila Day so let the celebrations begin in 3 tequila, 2 tequila, 1 tequila…

But don’t stop at shots – or margaritas for that matter. Up your game with 18 tequila cocktail recipes for 3 different varieties of tequila (plus bonus mezcal recipes.)

Tequila 101

Made from the blue agave plant, tequila is produced in 5 specific regions of Mexico: Michoacán, Guanajuato, Nayarit, Tamaulipas, and Jalisco.

The traditional process includes steaming the agave piñas inside brick ovens, then distilling the liquor in copper pots. The time the spirit ferments often determines its classification: blanco, reposado, or añejo. (Yes, we’ll give you tequila cocktail recipes for all 3).

Blanco Tequila Cocktail Recipes

Also known as tequila silver or platinum, blanco tequila is a smooth, clear liquor that captures what many consider to be the purest form of Blue Agave.

Often unaged, blanco tequila can be bottled right after distillation, so drinkers get the natural taste and sweetness of agave. Its smooth flavor and lack of a harsh bite is why mixologists turn to the silver liquor for most tequila cocktail recipes.

  1. Tequila Fix: Mixed with honey vodka, orange curacao, and lime, this tequila concoction tastes like a sunny day. Refreshing and smooth, it’s the perfect patio sipper.
  2. Game, Set, Matcha: Matcha tea is having a moment, so why not bring its health benefits to your tequila cocktail recipes? Made with cashew milk, honey, and matcha, this drink is equal parts delicious and healthy(ish).
  3. Creme of the Crop: Just mix some orange juice, heavy cream, and egg whites with lemon juice and blanco tequila for a creamsicle-inspired cocktail.
  4. Tequila Kiwi Smash Cocktail: Let another fruit besides lime enjoy the limelight in your summer tequila cocktail recipes. This one includes kiwi, mint, and club soda.
  5. Garden Party Cocktail: Go green with your tequila cocktail recipes. Starring muddled cucumber, cilantro, and jalapenos, this one tastes (and looks) like it’s straight from the garden.

Reposado Tequila Cocktail Recipes

Also referred to as “rested” or “aged” tequila, reposado is stored in wooden barrels for up to 11 months. Some distilling methods call for the use of barrels that held previous liquors, like wine, bourbon, or whiskey.

The longer distilling process gives the liquor a golden hue and a more complex flavor profile than its silver sister.

  1. Roasted Red Bell: Savory tequila cocktail recipes are a must for any drink menu. This complex cocktail mixes fruit juices with traditional Mexican flavors, topped with a roasted bell pepper.
  2. Reposado Paloma: Try traditional tequila cocktail recipes, like the paloma made with grapefruit juice. Simple yet elegant.
  3. El Diablo: The devil is in the details of the best tequila cocktail recipes. With notes of black currant and lime combined with ginger, this sophisticated drink is no angel…
  4. Resting Point: Mexican and Italian influences are infused into an elevated strawberry margarita.
  5. Watermelon Basil Margarita: Step away from lime and simple syrup, and explore new pairings for tequila cocktail recipes – like this watermelon and basil beverage.

Añejo Tequila Cocktail Recipes

This amber-colored tequila is aged for the longest of the 3 tequila types. Stored for at least one year, añejo develops a robust, rich taste ideal for sipping. It’s often served alone, like a good whiskey or bourbon. But it also pairs well with others. Here are some tequila cocktail recipes that even the most experienced tequila connoisseur could swear by:

  1. Añejo Manhattan: Some of the best tequila cocktail recipes put a twist on traditional cocktails. Swap out whiskey for aged tequila and you’ve got a…Manejo?
  2. Tequila Amped Mojito: Add a little magic to your basic mojito. Añejo tequila brings Mexico and Cuba together.
  3. Cold Brew Shakerato: Looking to shake up your brunch? You need this Mexican Shakerato. Made with cold brew coffee and agave nectar, it’s an instant pick-me-up no guest can put down.
  4. Añejo Old Fashioned: This new-age take on the classic old fashioned cocktail will send you back to the future.
  5. Honey Lemon Añejo Margarita: While most tequila cocktail recipes are ideal for summer drinks, this mixture of honey, lemon, and añejo tequila is perfect for September.

Meet Mezcal: Tequila’s BFF

Like tequila, mezcal is an agave-based liquor. While tequila specifically uses blue agave, mezcal may be made with other agave varieties.

There’s also a big difference in the fermentation process. Unlike tequila, the agave is heated in pits lined with lava rocks and filled with wood and charcoal.

Then, the spirit is distilled in clay pots – not the steel ones often used to preserve the agave sweetness in tequila. This process gives mezcal the smoky flavor its famous for. When selecting tequila cocktail recipes, why not give mezcal a try instead?

  1. Hibiscus and Cilantro Mezcal Cocktail: Dried hibiscus flowers and mezcal mix smoky and sweet flavors.
  2. Ginger’s Lost Island: Infused with Mexican, Asian, and Indian flavors, this ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom cocktail rivals most profiles found in traditional tequila cocktail recipes.
  3. Esplanade Mezcal Swizzle: Mezcal and sherry come together in a splendid swizzler.

Top Brands for Tequila Cocktail Recipes

The best tequila cocktail recipes are made using the best brands of tequila, obviously. Here our top picks for up and coming tequilas to add to your bar menu:

Most Traditional: Fortaleza

Bring a little history to your tequila cocktail recipes. Produced on a hacienda in Tequila Valley (the Lowlands), this recipe hasn’t changed since it was produced 125 years ago.

Best Value: Espolon

Described as smooth and a little spicy, Espolon is a versatile option for your tequila cocktail recipes. At about $30 per bottle, it’s quickly building a reputation as an affordable yet high-quality tequila.

Most Environmentally Conscious: 123 Organic Reposado

Being an environmentally conscious restaurant or bar is kind of a big deal right now. So, bring some of that sustainability to your drink menu with tequila cocktail recipes using this USDA and EU certified organic spirit.

While the margarita isn’t going anywhere, make room on your menu for these creative tequila cocktail recipes. Better yet, want to educate yourself on tequila’s origin story? Check out The Buzz About Tequila to learn more about this popular spirit’s rise to fame. This book explores everything from tequila’s economic impact to its role as a cultural phenomenon (Spring Break, anyone?). Share what you learn with your customers – you’ll have them impressed with your endless fun facts and craving a cocktail or two. Ayyyyyyy tequila!
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