Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

Tequila Mockingbird

Earthy tequila, spicy jalapeño and fresh watermelon come together for this perfect summer cocktail.

Tequila Mockingbird cocktail in a rocks glass with ice. / Tim Nusog

The Tequila Mockingbird is more than a top-notch pun blending the literary and liquor worlds. It’s also a best-selling cocktail book. And a cocktail. Look around online, however, and you’ll find multiple recipes for this drink, some varying wildly and containing everything from blue curaçao to crème de menthe.

This recipe comes from Greg Seider, a New York bartender and consultant and the author of Alchemy in a Glass. His Tequila Mockingbird is a summery Spicy Margarita variation that fuses the earthy bite of tequila with the fresh sweetness of watermelon.

Watermelon is underutilized in cocktails, and it’s easy to see why. Use too little, and the flavor is lost. Use too much, and you can dilute your drink. But when the combination of spirit and watermelon balanced with citrus and sweetener come together accurately, it hits a stellar note and goes down in a hurry.

A blender isn't required to enjoy this drink—a simple muddler is all you need to break down the fruit. Start by muddling the watermelon with jalapeño for a juicy kick of sweetness and green, vegetal spice. Next, shake your liquid ingredients, which include blanco tequila (100% agave is always the right call), fresh lime juice and agave syrup. Fine-strain the contents into your glass to remove any pulp from the fruit, and you’re holding a fragrant, bright red cocktail laced with electrolytes. Make in case of hot weather.


  • 1 slice jalapeño

  • 3 watermelon cubes (each about 1 inch cubed)

  • 2 ounces blanco tequila

  • 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 3/4 ounce agave syrup


  1. Muddle the jalapeño slice and watermelon cubes in a shaker to extract the juices.

  2. Add tequila, lime juice, agave syrup and ice, and shake until well-chilled.

  3. Fine-strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

Could The Jalapeño Be Substituted With Something Else?

If you're not a fan of jalapeño spice but love the other flavors in this cocktail, you can always sub in another botanical or favorite herb. Muddle 2-3 cucumber slices, or basil or mint sprigs before shaking the cocktail. For a different kind of spicy flavor profile—smoky and chile-forward—you can drop in a few dashes of hot sauce or a quarter ounce of Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur.