Tequila is one of the world’s most magical spirits and is enjoyed far beyond its place of origin in Mexico. While the famed distilled beverage remains a spirit of choice among imbibers, National Tequila Day (July 24) gives us an excuse to celebrate tequila in style.
Much like bourbon, tequila has a specific set of rules to be designated as such. While tequila is technically a mezcal, meaning a distilled spirit made from agave plants, it can only be called tequila if it comes from blue agave. This is similar to how bourbon shares characteristics with scotch but can only be called bourbon if 51 percent of its mash bill is made with corn.
Many of us grew up knocking back a shot of tequila with some salt and lime in our early days but the spirit is also enjoyable neat and paired with select dishes. In time, we’ll use this space to break down the nuances of the varying expressions of tequila. For now, we decided to make cocktails and RTDs our focus in this roundup.
The roots of National Tequila Day are hard to nail down. The Mexican version of the holiday was reportedly enacted in 2018 and occurs annually on the third Saturday of March. That said, National Tequila Day has its foothold here in the States for good reason and we’re glad to feature some stellar tequila brands and cocktails below. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to join us in a summery sip of Mexico’s famous spirit.
The list below is in alphabetical order.
1 1/2 oz Cierto Tequila Private Collection Reposado
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Mayan Honey Syrup
1 oz Champagne
Method: Add all ingredients (minus Champagne) and shake with ice until chilled. Strain into a flute glass, top with Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.
“Some purists would say it would be a shame to make cocktails out of Cierto’s sippable tequilas but I’m big on using premium spirit bases for my cocktails because one, rules are meant to be broken, and two, who made up those rules anyway? The brand has a core Private Collection range of Blanco, Reposado, Anejo, and Extra Anejo while its Reserve Collection offers the same expressions. If you see a bottle, grab one and discover quickly why it has become the most-awarded tequila in history. Learn more here. “ – D.L.
Café Espresso Martini
2 oz. CAZADORES Café
2 oz. Fresh Brewed Coffee or 1 oz. Espresso
Method: Combine ingredients with ice, shake and serve up in a cocktail. Garnish with 3 coffee beans.
“CAZADORES recently introduced to the market a tequila-based liqueur which forms the base of their version of the crowd pleasing modern classic.” -D.L.
EL CIELO Spritz
1 oz PATRÓN EL CIELO
2 oz Chilled Pinot Grigio or Provençale Rose Wine
3 oz Chilled Ginger Ale
In a white wine glass with cubed ice, build all ingredients, stir to combine. Garnish with a fresh orange wedge – squeeze and drop into the glass.
“PATRÓN has owned its corner of the market for over three decades and continues to be a brand of choice among tequila drinkers worldwide.” – D.L.
0.75 parts Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
1.5 parts Tequila
0.75 parts Fresh Lime Juice
0.25 parts Agave Nectar
Lime wheel to garnish
Fill a wide, shallow dish with 2-3 mm of fine salt. Cut a lime in half at the width and rub around half of the rim of a margarita glass. Cut a thin, crosswise slice from one of the lime halves for garnish. Holding glass upside down, dip wet half delicately into the salt. Shake Grand Marnier, tequila and lime juice with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into glass and apply lime garnish to the rim.
“I’ve made plenty of these over the past couple of years and they’re always a hit. Grand Marnier is delicious in a variety of ways but paired with your favorite tequila, it’s a perfect match.” – D.L.
Hibiscus Old Fashioned
2 oz Mayenda Blanco Tequila
0.25 oz Hibiscus Syrup
2 dashes Mole Bitters
Grapefruit Twist Garnish
(Alternative garnish: Salted Lime Wheel)
Add Mayenda Tequila Blanco and the syrup to a mixing glass with ice. Add bitters and stir together. Pour over ice into a fluted double old fashioned glass and garnish with a grapefruit peel.
“Mayenda is a premium sipping tequila which its producers say comes by way of unique process that brings in some of the rich flavors of aged spirits. We’re eager to try this one out soon.” – D.L.
Pepino’s Revenge (created by Wolfgang Puck, Spago)
4 slices Japanese cucumber
2 large basil leaves
1 1/2 oz El Cristiano Tequila
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
In a cocktail shaker, combine the thick cucumber slices with the large basil leaves and muddle well with a wooden spoon. Add the tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and ice, and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a few small basil leaves and thin cucumber slices.
El Cristiano Tequila is a new player on the block but Karan Khanna and his business partners are invested in producing quality tequila. Further, the brand works with its local producers in giving back to the community and its workers that help create the award-winning spirit. A portion of sales are donated to the Arandas orphanage supporting over three dozen children between the ages of 6 months and 18, a donation of 50 laptops to the church of Arandas for its schools, and the creation of a new local children’s bicycle club. Learn about the foundation El Cristiano supports here. – D.L.
1.5 Parts Milagro Reposado
3 Chunks Grilled Pineapple
3/4 Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Fresh Pineapple Juice
3/4 Light Agave Nectar
1-2 Dashes Mole Bitters
Lime Wheel (Garnish)
Pineapple Quarter (Garnish)
Muddle grilled pineapple in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients, ice and shake. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass and garnish with grilled pineapple quarter and a lime wheel.
Over the past two decades, Milagro Tequila notched several awards across its core and Select expressions and continues to occupy a strong foothold in the wider tequila marketplace. It’s one of our favorite brands, most especially its reposado. – D.L.
Prickly Pear (courtesy of Dulce Vida, Wyn Vida, Jasmin Porter)
2 oz Dulce Vida Blanco Tequila
1 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Prickly Pear Cordial
Garnishes: Tajin Rim, Cucumber
Directions: Using a y-peeler, make a long cucumber swath and place along the inside of the glass before placing a large cube inside. Add all ingredients into a shaker tin, fill to top with ice, and shake for 8 seconds. Double strain into a rocks glass over a large format ice cube.
“I love a good refreshing cocktail with a tajin rim to add a subtle kick! Much less labor intensive than the other drinks if you just need something quick.” – Wyn Vida
For the perfect Ranch Water cocktail, add 3 ounces blanco tequila (about 2 shots) and 1 ½ ounces fresh lime juice (about 1 shot) to a high ball glass filled with ice and stir. Top with chilled Topo Chico and garnish with a fresh lime wedge. It’s that easy! Delicious, bubbly, citrusy, and oh so refreshing on a hot day – what’s not love? – Topo Chico
“If you’ve never had a Ranch Water, get on that soon as possible. It’s one of those unforgettable drinks that is perfect for the summer.” – D.L.
Red Berry Lemonade
1/4 cup fresh blackberries, plus more for garnish
2 parts Jose Cuervo Especial® Silver*
6 parts lemonade
Lemon for garnish and juice
In the bottom of a glass or Mason jar, muddle or mash blackberries and top with crushed ice. Pour tequila and lemonade on top. If not using fresh lemonade, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice into the drink. Garnish with more blackberries and a slice of lemon on top.
“Jose Cuervo will always hold a dear place in my heart. I’ve gained a lot of my understanding of the deep history and craftsmanship of producing tequila because of Cuervo, and this tasty summertime cocktail is a fine way to get introduced to the brand’s strong portfolio of expressions.” – D.L.
1.5oz Cantera Negra Reposado Tequila
.75oz Fresh lime juice
.75oz Simple syrup
.5oz Fresh grapefruit juice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish.
“I’m usually hesitant to feature cocktails or brands that I haven’t tried because what if it’s awful? That said, Cantera Negra’s Siesta definitely sounds like a party I want to attend.” – D.L.
Spicy Cucumber Margarita
2 oz LALO Tequila
2 oz lime juice
1.5 oz pineapple juice
1/2 of a small cucumber
2-4 slices of jalapeño
1-2 tbsps honey or agave syrup
Rim edge of glass with lime wedge and dip in Tajín or salt. Add ingredients to the blender and strain when smooth. In a cocktail shaker, muddle slices of jalapeño, ice, cocktail mix and shake until chilled. Strain into glass. Serve with extra lime wedges and garnish with jalapeño slices.
“LALO is a brand from the mind of Eduardo ‘Lalo’ González, the grandson of Don Julio. Using only the best agave grown in the Jalisco highlands, this is a tequila that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail.” – D.L.
Summer Blossom Margarita
2 oz Villa One Reposado
3 gooseberries, muddled
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.25 oz hot honey syrup
0.25 crème de cacao
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass over a large rock. Garnish with more gooseberries.
“Villa One was launched by Nick Jonas and John Varvatos and has snagged some notable awards. What I enjoyed about Villa One is that the entire range has an ultra-premium taste with an approachable price point.” – D.L.
Summer Passion (created by Irvine Gonzalez)
1.5 oz Izo Tequila extra añejo cristalino
2 oz Passion Fruit Puree
.75 oz Fresh Pressed Lemon Juice 1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Lemon Thyme Syrup
Garnish: Edible Flowers
Combine ingredients in shaker filled with ice. Shake for 30 seconds vigorously. Serve in a highball glass garnished with edible flowers.
“Summer Passion is the perfect summer cocktail – It is served in a highball glass and garnished with edible flowers for a refreshing and aromatic experience. With its combination of sweet and sour flavors, this cocktail is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more. Enjoy the perfect summer passion on a hot day!” – Irvine Gonzalez
Summer Senorita (created by Jennifer Castillo, beverage director, IXTA NYC)
2 oz Flecha Azul Blanco
1.5 oz watermelon juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
.5 oz Agave
“Nothing screams summer like a classic watermelon margarita using the freshest ingredients.” – Jennifer Castillo
Tequilas & other offerings you should get to know
Altos Ready To Serve
“Olmeca Altos has a number of awards on its mantle and now they’re entering into the rising RTD market with their “ready to serve” margarita. We’re happy to report that this is the real deal.” – D.L.
Anteel Tequila is the creation of Nayana Ferguson, the first Black woman to co-own a tequila brand alongside her husband, Don Ferguson. Having survived pancreatic cancer and breast cancer, Mrs. Ferguson watches what spirits she enjoys and Anteel’s commitment to purity fits her standards. Learn more here. – D.L.
Standard Wormwood Distillery’s Coyote
While it’s technically not a tequila, this unique cocktail is made with Standard Wormwood’s own wormwood and agave spirit along with house-made arbor vitae bitters and an ancho pepper cordial, borrowing from years of tradition for a new twist. Yes, we’re sure the experts are screaming at their screens right now but we want to express that ingenuity in the spirits world should be encouraged and not kept being gates. Also, you can get this at Standard Wormwood’s Brooklyn, N.Y. location. Learn more here. – D.L.
Dulce Vida Tetra Pak
“Dule Vida’s Tetra Pak Paloma is one of the best pre-made cocktails I’ve had all summer. If you see it in your local store, get it! There is also a traditional and watermelon flavor too.” – D.L.
“We’ve featured MARGS in the past and haven’t tried them out yet. What we can say is we’re happy the brand uses real tequila for its quintet of flavors.” – D.L.
If you’re curious about the most popular tequila brands in every state, Casinos.com analyzed data from Google Trends and The Spirits Business which helped craft a nationwide breakdown in connection to National Tequila Day. You can see the results by clicking here.
Happy National Tequila Day to all!
National Tequila Day Is Here & These Cocktails Will Aid In The Celebration was originally published on cassiuslife.com
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