The Story Behind The Ranch Water
Perfect to beat the arid West Texas heat, this one-time rancher staple has soared to nationwide popularity in recent years. While its composition is simple — just tequila, lime, and Topo Chico mineral water — by no means is this cocktail lacking in complexity. The über-effervescent water is the ideal partner for tequila, complementing its earthy, mineral notes while still allowing the spirit's character to shine.
Some may be tempted to build this cocktail in a Collins glass. But Taylor Samuels, owner of Dallas’s Las Almas Rotas, prefers to enjoy Ranch Water exactly as those who inspired its recipe did. “It's so easy to just open a bottle of Topo Chico, pour a little bit out, and then replace those ounces with tequila (or mezcal) and lime,” he says. “It literally was a way for ranchers to have a happy hour.” Think of it like the Tex-Mex equivalent to a Brass Monkey (aka Beermosa). Ranch water is a drink that doesn’t take itself too seriously — no garnishes, no fancy glassware, and a tongue-in-cheek moniker to top it all off.
Today, Ranch Water might be more easily recognized in its ready-to-drink canned form — companies like Modelo, Karbach, Dos Equis, and even Topo Chico all creating their own versions of the cocktail to be enjoyed without any mixing necessary.
If you want to live like a West Texan, enjoy an authentic rancher happy hour using Samuels’ recipe below.
Looking for a canned ranch water? See our complete guide to canned ranch water seltzers here!