Ranch Water Recipe

Ranch water is a Texas-born tequila highball cocktail made with lime and Topo Chico! This drink is all about cooling…

Ranch water is a Texas-born tequila highball cocktail made with lime and Topo Chico! This drink is all about cooling off on hot days.

Ranch Water in glass with topo chico

Here’s a simple cocktail that’s bubbly, zingy and perfect for summer: ranch water! It’s the unofficial drink of West Texas, a tequila highball made with lime juice and sparkling Topo Chico.

One of our dearest friends, a native Texan, suggested we try out this “new” drink a few years ago, and after one sip, we were sold. Now it’s taken the country by storm and vaulted into popularity as one of the top summer drinks! It’s like a bubbly, lighter spin on the margarita, with all the tangy citrus but less sweetness and booze. It’s laid back and carefree, perfect for patio sipping. Come make it with us!

Ingredients in ranch water

Ranch water is a tequila highball cocktail that hails from West Texas. No one knows exactly how it came to be, or even how it got the name. Some people say a Texas rancher invented it in the 1960’s, but there’s no documentation of how it came to be.

It was a word-of-mouth drink until around 2010, when bartenders in Texas started adding it to their menus. The ingredients you’ll need for ranch water are:

  • Tequila: Use tequila blanco has a clean and crisp flavor that’s a good match for the bubbles and citrus. We also like it with tequila reposado, for a more complex sip with subtle notes of vanilla and oak.
  • Lime juice: Always use fresh limes in a cocktail: the flavor of bottled juice is no comparison.
  • Topo Chico mineral water or other sparkling water: Die-hard fans of this drink claim that it’s not ranch water unless it’s made with Topo Chico, the Mexican mineral water brand sold in distinctive bottles. You can make it with other brands of sparkling water, but Topo Chico seals the deal for us.
Ranch Water with Topo Chico sparkling water bottle

How to make ranch water: step by step

There’s no exact science behind ranch water! Because it was a word-of-mouth cocktail for so long, it’s more about vibe than precise quantities. You can use as much lime, tequila, and soda water as you’d like, but this is the formula we feel packs the right zingy, bubbly punch. Here’s how to make ranch water:

  • Step 1: Place 3 oz tequila in a glass (2 shots).
  • Step 2: Stir in 1 ½ oz fresh lime juice (the juice of about 1 medium lime).
  • Step 3: Add ice and pour in 4 ounces Topo Chico (½ cup).

Best tequila to use for ranch water

Ranch Water isn’t the most sophisticated of cocktails, so it doesn’t require pulling out a top-shelf liquor. Find a mid-priced tequila for Ranch Water. You can use either tequila blanco (“new” or un-aged tequila) or tequila reposado (aged). The aged tequila has more nuance in flavor and makes for a more interesting drink. Look for 750 ml bottles in the range of $22 to $35 (anything cheaper isn’t worth buying). A few tequila brands that we recommend are:

  • Espolon Blanco: inexpensive tequila blanco
  • El Tesoro Blanco or Patrón Silver: mid-priced tequila blanco
  • Milagro Reposado or Suerte Reposado: mid-priced tequila reposado
Ranch Water with lime garnish.

More tequila drinks

Are you a tequila fan? Pick from these tequila cocktails:

What kind of tequila should I use for ranch water?

Tequila blanco (silver tequila) is the classic choice. Its clean and crisp flavor complements the lime and sparkling water perfectly. However, feel free to experiment with reposado tequila for a touch of oaky complexity.

Is there a special type of sparkling water needed?

Topo Chico, a Mexican sparkling mineral water known for its subtle sweetness and minerality, is the traditional choice. However, any type of plain club soda or sparkling water you enjoy will work. (We like it best with Topo Chico!)

How strong is a typical ranch water?

A typical class of ranch water has 3 oz tequila, which is 2 shots. If desired, you can use less and have a more watered down drink.

Is ranch water a good alternative to other summer cocktails?

Absolutely! It’s lighter than margaritas or daiquiris, making it perfect for hot weather.

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Ranch water

Ranch Water Recipe


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink

Description

Ranch water is a Texas-born tequila highball cocktail made with lime and Topo Chico! This drink is all about cooling off on hot days.


Ingredients

  • 3 ounces* tequila
  • 1 ½ ounces fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 4 ounces Topo Chico or other sparkling mineral water
  • For serving: lime wedges or wheels, ice (try clear ice!)

Instructions

  1. Add the tequila and lime juice to highball glass and stir.
  2. Fill with ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Notes

*To convert to ounces, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Ranch Water, Tequila Highball

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