News flash: Tequila is good for more than margaritas. If your consumption of this Mexican liquor, which is made from the blue agave plant, is restricted to slushy sips on taco Tuesdays, it’s time to branch out. From super-simple cocktails to punches that will serve a crowd, these six tequila drinks are perfect for your next at-home happy hour — no blender required.
For the ultimate in happy hour simplicity, mix up one of the most popular tequila drinks: the Paloma. You can make a basic Paloma by combining tequila with grapefruit-flavored soda, such as Jarritos, but this less-sweet version from Saveur is made with a mix of fresh grapefruit juice and seltzer.
- 2 ounces tequila blanco (silver)
- Juice of half a lime
- 3 ounces grapefruit juice
- 3 ounces seltzer
- 1 pinch salt
- Lime wedge, for garnish
Directions: Combine tequila, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a highball or Collins glass. Add ice and top with grapefruit and soda. Stir gently, then serve with a lime wedge garnish.
2. Mexican 75
The French 75 — a Gatsby-era cocktail made with gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup — gets a Mexican-inspired update by swapping the gin for tequila and the lemon for lime. The result is “tasty and far less fussy” than the original, according to Chowhound, which shared this recipe from bartender Eric Appelby.
- 1 ounce blanco tequila
- ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- ½ ounce agave nectar or rich simple syrup
- 4 ounces blanc de blancs champagne or sparkling wine
- Lime twist, for garnish (optional)
Directions: Combine tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled, then strain into a champagne flute or other glass.
Top with champagne and garnish with a lime twist (if using).
3. Pomegranate Tequila Sunset Punch
If you’re hosting this week’s happy hour, prepare a pitcher of this tequila pomegranate punch. You can prep the base of the drink in advance, then when you’re ready to serve, top each drink with some pomegranate juice for the famous “sunset” effect. This recipe from The Pub and Grub forum makes 12 servings.
- 1 quart orange juice
- 12 ounces tequila blanco
- ½ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1/3 cup triple sec
- 2 (12-ounce) cans lemon lime soda, very well chilled
- 12 ounces pomegranate juice
- Orange and lime slices, for garnish (optional)
Directions: Combine the orange juice, tequila, lime juice, and triple sec in a large pitcher. Chill.
Just before serving, add the lemon-lime soda to the pitcher. Stir to combine.
Fill glasses with ice and pour in the punch, leaving some room at the top of each glass. Top each with 1 ounce of pomegranate juice. Garnish with orange or lime slices if desired, then serve.
4. Mango-Ginger Cocktail
Most tequila drinks feature lime, but you can still enjoy this spirit in a cocktail even if you don’t like green citrus fruits. This mango-ginger cocktail from Serious Eats is refreshingly lime-free, comes with a spicy ginger kick, and is served with a garnish of cilantro.
For the ginger juice:
- 1 (2- to 3-inch) knob fresh ginger, about 1½ ounces, peeled
For the cocktail:
- 1½ ounces fresh ripe mango, diced (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
- ½ ounce ginger juice
- 1/3 ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounces reposado tequila
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Directions: To make the ginger juice, slice ginger into chunks and place in bottom of mixing glass. Muddle until broken up well, about 1 minute. Strain juice through fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids with the back of a spoon to extract juice.
To make the cocktail, muddle mango, cilantro, lemon juice, ginger juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker until the mango is completely dissolved.
Fill shaker 2/3 full with ice and add tequila. Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Using a strainer, pour into a serving glass filled with ice. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.
5. Sriracha-Jalapeño Cocktail
If you prefer your drinks savory rather than sweet, you’ll love this spicy cocktail from Self. Made with a mix of tequila, Cointreau, lime, jalapeño, and sriracha, it’s sure to set your taste buds on fire.
- 2 jalapeño wheels, seeded
- 1¾ ounces tequila
- 1 ounces Cointreau
- ¾ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
Directions: In a glass, muddle together 1 drop of Sriracha and 1 jalapeño wheel. Add ice, tequila, Cointreau, and juice and stir using a bar spoon. Strain into a chilled coup glass. Garnish with remaining jalapeño wheel.
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