Thanks to its earthy, slightly sweet flavor, tequila is one of the most versatile liquors on your bar cart. The distilled spirit is made from blue agave, a cactus-like plant that’s native to Mexico. Depending on how long tequila is aged, it can appear in a spectrum of colors, from clear (unaged blanco) to a warm amber (aged anejo). It’s wonderful to sip on its own and also makes a great foundation for cocktails.
While a margarita may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tequila drink recipes, there are plenty of cocktails to make with a bottle (you can even cook with it!). Even the margarita itself is endlessly customizable. Add other citrus fruits to the lime juice or infuse the tequila with jalapeño for an unexpected kick of heat; the list of ways to jazz up a margarita goes on and on.
If you’re looking to explore all that tequila has to offer, look no further than this list of fun, easy-to-make cocktails, all featuring the Mexican spirit.
Everyone should have a classic margarita recipe in their back pocket and we highly recommend this one from award-winning mixologist Ivy Mix. The drink itself calls for just four ingredients — tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and simple syrup — so be sure to use high-quality booze. True to tradition, the shaken cocktail is poured into a salt-rimmed glass.
Take the paloma — a Mexican cocktail traditionally made with grapefruit soda — to the next level by adding fresh juice and some char. Grill the grapefruit and limes and combine the juices with the tequila, simple syrup and club soda to form a drink that’s bubbly, tart and smoky all at once.
This dreamy frozen margarita tastes like summer in a pitcher. Featuring a combination of tequila, aperol and Cointreau, the large-batch drink gets its sweet, creamy flavor from frozen peaches, honey and coconut milk.
Like some heat in your drinks? Then this margarita is for you. The classic tequila, triple sec and lime cocktail gets a kick of heat from sliced jalapeños, balanced by the cooling aroma of muddled cucumbers.
This margarita gets a double dose of citrus flavor. Along with fresh lime juice, there’s a cup and a half of juice squeezed from Cara Caras, a navel orange that boasts a sweet, lightly tart flavor.
We all know that the Barefoot Contessa loves a good strong cocktail. When it comes to tequila drinks, she’s also a fan of adding heat. Here, Ina infuses blanco or silver tequila with a small jalapeño overnight in the fridge before adding triple sec, honey, salt and a duo of lime and lemon juices.
Elizabeth Heiskell gives the margarita a dose of Christmas cheer by adding cranberry and orange juices to the tequila, triple sec and lime juice. Garnishes like cranberries and rosemary sprigs add to the holiday-ready sipper.
The tequila sunrise and sangria come together to form this big-batch drink perfect for summer parties. Combine a bottle of your favorite dry white wine with silver or gold tequila and both white grape and lime juices. Drop in cut grapes, limes and oranges to give it the full sangria treatment.
The sweet puckery lemon is the star of Martha’s lively margarita. A homemade simple syrup made with sugar, lemon juice and zest sweetens the drink, which also calls for tequila and orange liqueur.
In this unique margarita inspired by Jenna and bartender Tiffanie Barriere’s Texan upbringing, an apple-pepper jelly and sliced jalapeño work together to bring on the heat. A brown sugar-salt rim helps tame the spice as you sip.
Looking for something a little different? This recipe swaps sparkling water for ginger ale, which adds a zippy effervescence to the tequila, lime juice and agave.