Between the undeniable popularity of the Margarita and the emergence of celebrity-backed brands, tequila is trending. And while there are countless ways to enjoy the spirit — both on its own and in cocktails — we’re taking it back to basics with the classic tequila recipes we can’t get enough of.

Looking to embrace agave? Read on for 14 essential tequila cocktail recipes that showcase the simple elegance of the Mexican spirit.

Best Tequila Cocktails for Brunch

The Bloody Maria Recipe

The Bloody Maria recipe is one of the best tequila cocktails for brunch

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A sibling to the Bloody Mary, the Bloody Maria substitutes tequila for vodka for a highly adaptable, easy-to-make cocktail (albeit with a long ingredient list). To make one, combine tequila with tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, horseradish, and ground black pepper — and enjoy alongside your favorite breakfast fare.

The Tequila Sunrise Recipe

The Tequila Sunrise is one of the most essential and popular tequila cocktails.

Originally crafted in the 1930s in Arizona and popularized in the ‘70s by the Rolling Stones, this three-ingredient libation is named after its recognizable color gradient resembling a sunrise. To perfect the drink’s famed colorway, add tequila and orange juice to a Highball glass, and use a spoon to sink grenadine to the bottom of the glass — no mixing necessary.

The After-Hours Bloody Maria Recipe

The After-Hours Bloody Maria is one of the most essential and popular tequila cocktails.A sibling of the Bloody Mary, the Bloody Maria substitutes tequila for vodka. While the classic recipe simply combines tequila with tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper, this version adds chocolate-chili bitters for an evening-time take on the brunch staple.

The Cantarito Recipe

The Cantarito recipe is one of the best tequila cocktails for brunch

Like a combination of a Hurricane and Paloma, the Cantarito is made with tequila, grapefruit soda, salt and the juices of lime, orange, and grapefruit. The drink is traditionally served at bars and cafes in Jalisco, Mexico in small clay pots called jarritos, which keep it cold on even the hottest of days — but a highball glass will work just as well.

Best Tequila Cocktails for Summer

The Margarita Recipe

The Margarita is one of the most essential and popular tequila cocktails.

Forever the hero of summertime, the Margarita is the world’s most beloved tequila cocktail. And for good reason. The beauty of this three-ingredient beverage is in its simplicity. Just combine blanco tequila with lime juice and the orange liqueur of your choice, shake with ice, and strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with a lime, and be instantly transported to a tropical paradise.

The Paloma Recipe

The Paloma is one of the most essential and popular tequila cocktails.

After the Marg, the Paloma is the second most ordered tequila drink at cocktail bars around the world. The simple drink requires only four ingredients and can be built directly in the glass, making for easy cleanup. To build, add reposado or blanco tequila to your glass, and top with lime juice, salt, and grapefruit soda. This sessionable cocktail is sure to become an instant favorite.

The Tommy’s Margarita Recipe

Tommy's Margarita is one of the most essential and popular tequila cocktails.Originally a riff on the classic Margarita, the Tommy’s Margarita has become an essential cocktail in its own right — finding its way onto the list of the 50 most popular beverages in the world. Invented in San Francisco by a bartender named Julio Bermejo at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, the Margarita variation simply swaps out orange liqueur for agave nectar.

The Ranch Water Recipe

Ranch Water is one of the most essential and popular tequila cocktails.

This Texas staple has recently found its way onto bar menus across the country. A simple combination of Topo Chico, blanco tequila, and lime juice, Ranch Water is best served in a Topo Chico bottle and drunk on the hottest of summer days. It’s both refreshing and simple to concoct, meaning it’s easier to drink like a rancher than you might think.

The Mexican Mule Recipe

The Mexican Mule is one of the best tequila cocktails for summer

An earthy take on the Moscow Mule, the Mexican Mule subs out vodka for tequila — a spirit that, when combined with zippy ginger beer and freshly squeezed lime juice, transforms the beverage into a slightly spicy, highly refreshing highball. Serve it in a copper mug topped with a lime wheel.

Best Tequila Cocktails for Winter

The Tequila Negroni Recipe

The Tequila Negroni is one of the most essential and popular tequila cocktails.Over the past few years, the Negroni has made a comeback, becoming a staple for drinks pros and home bartenders alike. Though the original recipe uses gin, tequila-lovers can easy sub in their favorite spirit for a balanced riff on the classic drink. For this recipe, we use Campari and sweet vermouth, but also add in a blood orange and ginger shrub for added freshness.

The Winter Margarita Recipe

The Winter Margarita is one of the best brunch cocktails for Easter.

For a take on the Margarita ideal for chillier days, try out this festive recipe with a holiday twist. In a shaker, add ice, reposado tequila, lime juice, cranberry juice, and spiced-pear syrup (made with cinnamon, cloves, sugar, water, and pear). Shake, and strain into a glass rimmed with salt and chili. For a seasonal touch, garnish with fresh cranberries and a pear fan.

The Oaxaca Old Fashioned

The Oaxaca Old Fashioned is one of the best tequila cocktails for winter

With a bit of smoke and a touch of sweetness, the Oaxaca Old Fashioned is a modern take on a beloved classic. Mezcal, reposado tequila, and agave nectar intertwine with a couple dashes of Angostura bitters for a rich, warming beverage that packs a punch. Serve in a rocks glass and top with an orange twist for the ideal serve.

Best Tequila Drinks to Order at a Bar

Outside of the Margarita, which is a pretty standard menu item at most bars these days, the best tequila drinks to order at a bar are the simplest ones that you know will be good no matter where you are.

Tequila Espresso Martini

The Tequila Espresso Martini is one of the best and most popular tequila cocktails.

Turn any drab day into a fiesta with the Tequila Espresso Martini, a riff on the vodka-based modern classic that’s recently experienced a resurgence in popularity. A combo of blanco tequila, freshly pulled espresso, simple syrup, and coffee liqueur, it makes for a slightly floral, tangy take on the original. Shake with ice, garnish with a few coffee beans, and enjoy.

El Diablo

El Diablo is one of the best and most popular tequila cocktails.

A Trader Vic original, El Diablo is essentially a tequila-based Moscow Mule enhanced by a burst of rich, velvety black currant liqueur (crème de cassis). The cocktail’s inherent sweetness plays tug-of-war with the heat of ginger beer, creating a refreshing highball and sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Skewer a lime wheel, a hunk of frosty candied ginger, and a brandied cherry for the drink’s signature garnish.

Tequila Soda

You can’t go wrong with a tequila soda, with a nice squeeze of lime. And if you feel like you’re in an establishment that might carry Topo Chico, go ahead and call for a Ranch Water.

Tequila Tonic

If tonic’s your thing, this simple highball, which should also include a squeeze of lime, subs in nicely for the more common G&T.


Be it with fresh grapefruit juice (fancy) or grapefruit soda (as it was created), most takes on a Paloma — a tequila favorite after the Margarita — will be reliably good and easy enough to order.

Tequila Sunrise

Your mileage may vary on this retro ‘70s cocktail, but there’s no denying that tequila, orange juice, and grenadine goes down easy, and can likely be made at most bars.

Tequila Pineapple

If you prefer your drinks sweet and fruity, tequila pairs nicely with pineapple. Depending on where you are, you’ll probably get canned juice, but with plenty of lime and served over ice, it’s a solid bar order.