What to Mix With Tequila

Margaritas are great, but what else can you use that bottle of tequila for?

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Tequila shots with limes and salt
Tequila shots. Photo: Meredith

So you bought a bottle of tequila to make margaritas one time and now you're left with half a bottle and no idea what to do with it. We've all been there and while margaritas are delicious, there are so many more tasty tequila drink combinations you might be missing out on. From cocktails involving other boozy elements to simple non-alcoholic mixers, these are the best things to combine with your tequila.

What Is Tequila?

Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave plant that grows in Mexico. There are three main types of tequila that are created through the distilling process. Tequila that is distilled and immediately bottled is Blanco tequila. Tequila that is distilled then moved to an oak barrel where it ages for at least 60 days is reposado tequila. Tequila that is distilled, then aged in small oak barrels for over a year until it takes on an amber color is called Añejo tequila.

What Does Tequila Taste Like?

Each type of tequila has its own distinct flavor. Blanco tequila can be a little sweet with citrus and pepper notes. Once aged, like to make reposado and Añejo, tequila can take on a smooth and slightly smoky oak flavor.

Tequila's taste also depends on where the agave plant was grown. Tequila produced in the lowlands of Jalisco, Mexico, will have a dry, earthy flavor. While tequila produced in the highlands will have a floral and citrusy flavor.

What to Mix With Tequila

Tequila can easily be enjoyed on its own, as a shot (with salt and lime, of course) or aged tequila is good for sipping, but it also makes a great mixed cocktail too. Next time you're looking for a use for that bottle of tequila on your shelf, try one of these combinations.

Triple Sec + Lime (a Margarita)

The most popular tequila drink is definitely the margarita. While you can mix up your margaritas by adding different flavors, a basic rule of thumb to make a traditional margarita is to follow the 3-2-1 ratio.

So, in a margarita for two servings you would use 3 ounces of tequila, 2 ounces of orange liqueur, and 1 ounce of lime juice. Then you can add different fruits (like strawberries, jalapeños, or watermelon) or vegetables (like cucumbers) to create different flavored margs.

Grapefruit Soda (a Paloma)

Palomas are essentially the cousin of the margarita. Instead of orange liqueur, Palomas are made with grapefruit-flavored soda — like Fresca or Jarritos. To make a Paloma, you'll combine 2 ounces of tequila (or Palomas can also be made with mezcal), 2 ounces of grapefruit-flavored soda, and about 1 ounce of lime juice.

Orange Juice + Grenadine (a Tequila Sunrise)

A Tequila Sunrise is quite easy to make and is a fun, fruity addition to your brunch spread. It's typically made with 1 ½ ounces of tequila, ¾ cup of orange juice, and ¾ ounce of grenadine syrup, and finished off with an orange slice and maraschino cherry garnish.

Tomato Juice (a Bloody Maria)

Switch up your Bloody Mary and replace the vodka with tequila. You can use any Bloody Mary recipe, just use tequila to make it a Bloody Maria. The tequila will especially bring out the hot sauce for an extra spicy drink. Or you can simply add Bloody Mary mix to tequila for an easy Bloody Maria.

Crème de Cassis + Ginger (an El Diablo)

Combine ½ ounce of crème de cassis (a sweet liqueur made with black currant extract), 1 ½ ounces of tequila, ½ ounce of lime juice, and top with ginger beer or ginger ale to create the El Diablo.

You can also just mix tequila with ginger ale or ginger beer for a tasty drink if you don't want to use crème de cassis.

Lemon Juice + Simple Syrup + Club Soda (a Tequila Collins)

This drink has a few names, like Juan Collins, José Collins, and Tequila Collins, but it's essentially a Tom Collins made with tequila. In this drink, you'll combine 2 ounces of tequila, ½ ounce of lemon juice, ½ ounce of simple syrup, and then top it with club soda.

Lager Beer (a Corona Sunrise)

This viral TikTok drink turns a bottle of beer into a fruity, summery cocktail. You'll need the same ingredients to make a tequila sunrise, plus a bottle of Corona and lime juice. The whole cocktail is made right in the beer bottle, so just drink some of the beer and mix the rest of the ingredients into it.

Club Soda

Technically, you could mix any kind of sparkling water, mineral water, seltzer, or club soda with tequila for an easy drink. But a fan favorite is mixing tequila with Topo Chico because it has a higher mineral content. Serve this two-ingredient drink with a citrus wedge that you can squeeze into the cocktail — like a lime, orange, or grapefruit slice.

Vermouth

That's right, you can make a tequila martini. Pair Blanco tequila with dry vermouth for a new take on the classic cocktail. And add a splash of olive juice to make your tequila martini "dirty."

Flavored Soda

Try pouring two ounces of tequila into a glass and topping it off with a flavored soda — like lemon-lime soda or coconut soda. It is an effortless drink that will pair nicely with a lime wedge for adding an extra burst of citrus flavor to the cocktail.

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