Spirits & Liqueurs Tequila & Mezcal

15 Great Tequila Cocktails That Aren't Margaritas

Sure, we love a good Margarita as much as anyone. But there’s so much more to tequila than just that classic cocktail. From delicate floral- or fruit-spiked sippers to bold drinks bursting with coffee, smoke or spice, here’s a look at 15 innovative tequila-based drinks from bartenders around the country—and not a tired Marg in the bunch.

  • The Bachelorette (Embers Ski Lodge, Nashville)

    Nickellac Photography

    Accented by gentle floral, fruit and spice notes, this cocktail mixes blanco tequila, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon syrup, vanilla and rosewater.

  • Blasphemous Rumor (Geraldine’s, Austin)

    This frothy libation, created by chief of bar operations Jennifer Keyser, is made with Tequila Cabeza, Zucca, Punt e Mes and egg white, then dotted with bright streaks of blueberry on top.

  • Honey Don't (South Water Kitchen, Chicago)

    Bartender Ruthie Bisek dreamed up this complex tequila tipple, which combines Herradura tequila, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, bell pepper tincture and a house-made honeydew shrub, garnished with a floating mint leaf.

  • The Exuberant Gaucho (Público, St. Louis)

    At this Latin-inspired concept helmed by James Beard semifinalist Mike Randolph, bartender Nick Digiovanni is creating drinks like this coffee-spiked sipper ideal to start or end a meal. It mixes Gran Centenario Añejo, Blueprint cold-brew coffee, Campari, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur and crème de cacao.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • Low Rider (Pepita Cantina, Arlington, Va.)

    Featured at Mike Isabella's Tiki-inspired Mexican cocktail bar, this dark, brooding tequila drink is anything but typical. It starts with a mist of peaty Laphroaig scotch, then builds with layers of reposado tequila, grapefruit cordial, maple and Peychaud’s bitters.

  • The Man of Leisure (The Hairy Lobster, Portland, Ore.)

    Bubbly and leading with a kick of gingery spice, bar manager James Kendall offers this blend of bourbon, blanco tequila, lime and Angostura bitters, topped with house-made ginger beer.

  • Mayahuel’s Revenge (Dirty Habit, San Francisco)

    Leave it to Bay Area bartender Brian Means to devise a barrel-aged tequila drink. He ages a mixture of Chinaco blanco tequila, vermut, Giffard Banane du Brésil liqueur and Bittercube Bitters Jamaican #2 for five months in a used bourbon barrel.

  • Spice of Life (Power House, Los Angeles)

    Simultaneously sweet and spicy, this scarlet stunner combines Roca Patrón, Patrón Silver and Patrón Citrónge Lime liqueur with nutty Frangelico, fresh strawberries and the fiery pop of jalapeño peppers.

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • Tequila Mockingbird (Aspen Kitchen, Aspen, Colo.)

    This whimsically named pink drink is made with Don Julio Silver tequila, Aperol, basil and grapefruit.

  • Wavelength 400 (Lola, Cleveland)

    That’s right—it’s blue! Crème de violette liqueur adds its signature deep hue to Don Julio Blanco, Cocchi Americano and lemon juice, garnished with a piece of candied lemon peel skewered on a swizzle stick.

  • No Religion, No Politics (Copita Tequileria y Comida, Sausalito, Calif.)

    This spring-inspired sipper intended to pair with contemporary Mexican dishes is made with reposado tequila, Bénédictine, lime juice, pineapple shrub, mint- and serrano-infused agave and Angostura bitters.

  • Ivory Fizz (Clark’s Oyster Bar, Austin)

    Almost evoking a tequila-spiced orange creamsicle, assistant beverage director Daisy Ryan’s frothy cocktail shakes together Tequila Cabeza, El Dorado 8-year rum, pineapple, lime, orange blossom water and egg white.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • Misunderstood (Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chicago)

    This light and refreshing beer cocktail is like a Shandy meets a classic Moscow Mule. Bartender Mike Jones mixes Del Maguey Vida, Corralejo Reposado tequila, ginger syrup, honey, fresh lime juice and muddled cucumbers, then tops it with Miller High Life.

  • Spring Fling (One Market Restaurant, San Francisco)

    Arguably the prettiest tequila drink you’ll see this season, bar manager Justin Blackwood translates a springtime bouquet into this cocktail, accenting tequila’s natural floral characteristics. Partida Blanco tequila takes its cues from crème de violette and St-Germain elderflower liqueur, garnished with an edible flower.

  • The Scorcher (The Daisy, New York City)

    Veteran bartender Ian Kearney created this rosy cocktail for the new restaurant’s agave-centric menu: Calle 23 blanco tequila, blood orange pomegranate juice, habanero pomegranate syrup and lime juice, garnished with a slice of blood orange.