You don't have to live in West Texas to enjoy Texas Ranch Water! With its crisp, clean flavors and simple ingredients, this refreshing drink is the perfect way to beat the heat wherever you live!
The classic margarita is getting some competition when it comes to a Texans' favorite summer cocktail! Ranch water is a simple cocktail that is surging in popularity!
What is Ranch Water?
Ranch Water is a bubbly cocktail made with just 3 ingredients: Tequila, lime juice, and Topo Chico. It is a thirst-quenching drink that is especially enjoyable on hot summer days.
The original recipe was created somewhere in West Texas, though the exact origin is a bit of a mystery. Many believe that a Texas rancher invented the drink back in the 1960s when he traveled by foot across 50 miles of dusty trails.
What we do know is that while the classic Ranch Water cocktail has been around for decades it surged in popularity around 2010 when the Gage Hotel added it to their menu at the White Buffalo Bar. It wasn't long after that you could find it on the menu at restaurants all across the states! Now this tequila cocktail is considered the unofficial drink of West Texas!
It has become such a popular drink that many grocery stores sell it in a can! Though who needs to buy the can when it's such a simple drink to make fresh?
What Tequila Should You Use?
When buying tequila for your Ranch Water, look for a high-quality tequila that is made from 100% blue agave. For smooth flavor, I recommend Blanco tequila (silver). Though reposado or mezcal can be used if you want a stronger tequila flavor.
My favorite tequila brands are Casamigos, Patron, and Don Julio.
It may be a simple recipe, but each ingredient plays an important role. Here are some other things to consider when selecting your ingredients for this cocktail.
Lime juice: Lime juice provides a tart and refreshing flavor that balances out th e tequila. Freshly squeezed lime juice has the best flavor. If you must use bottled lime juice make sure it is 100% pure lime juice, with no added sugars or preservatives.
Topo Chico: Texas Ranch Water purists will tell you that it's not Ranch Water unless it is made with Topo Chico, and I agree! Sure, there are other brands of sparkling water. But you won't get the same flavor or effervescent feel with anything else.
How to Make West Texas Ranch Water
This is seriously the easiest cocktail to make! It doesn't even require stirring or shaking!
- Simply fill a 12-ounce highball glass with crushed ice. (You can use any cocktail glass or even a mason jar!)
- Pour the 2 parts tequila and 1 part fresh lime juice over the ice.
- Top the glass off with 4 ounces of Topo Chico.
- Give it a taste. You can add more lime or more tequila to suit your palate.
Other Versions of Ranch Water
While the classic Ranch Water recipe is delicious, there are many ways you can mix it up. Here are a few ideas:
- Grapefruit Ranch Water: Add an ounce of grapefruit juice for a slightly sweeter and tangier flavor.
- Spicy Ranch Water Recipe: For a spicy kick, muddle a few slices of jalapeno in the glass with lime juice. Then finish the drink with tequila, ice, and mineral water.
- Tajin Rim: Many Texans love to rim their glass with this chile-lime seasoning for extra flavor! Just pour some spicy seasoning onto a plate or shallow bowl, rub a lime around the rim of the glass, dip the glass into the Tajin, and give it a twist.
- Sweetened Ranch Water: Add ½ ounce of agave nectar or simple syrup to sweeten things up.
- Ranch 616 Ranch Water: Kevin Williamson, owner of Ranch 616 restaurant makes his Ranch Water with reposado tequila, adds an ounce of orange liquor, and serves the glass with a full bottle of Topo Chico on the side.
- Tequila Soda: If you do not have Topo Chico then you can use club soda, essentially making an extra limey tequila soda.
Topo Chico is a sparkling mineral water that is bottled in Mexico. It has extra carbonation making it more effervescent than most sparkling water, and it has a milder flavor than other mineral waters. This makes it perfect for use in cocktails!
Yes, blanco tequila is also called silver. Both names are used for clear tequila that has not been aged in oak barrels. This tequila has a bright, clean flavor profile.
These two drinks are very similar! Both are made with tequila and lime juice. Skinny margaritas often have orange liqueur and are made with some type of sweetener, like agave nectar. Ranch Water does not have added sweetener, and of course, it is topped off with Topo Chico.
More Summer Cocktail Recipes
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Texas Ranch WaterRecipe by:
- 3 ounces tequila 6 tablespoons
- 1 ½ ounces fresh lime juice 3 tablespoons
- 4 ounces Topo Chico ½ cup
- Fill a highball glass with crushed ice.
- Pour the tequila and lime juice over the ice.
- Top with Topo Chico.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.