Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

28 Cocktails to Make with Tequila

The most popular agave spirit is endlessly versatile.

Savory Margarita cocktail served in rocks glass with cubed ice and lime wheel, shot against tan background / Tim Nusog

Whether you have a blanco, reposado, or añejo bottle of tequila on hand, the agave spirit’s earthy and slightly sweet flavor profile will shine in a wide range of cocktails. Crisp and citrusy blanco tequila blends seamlessly into sours and other drinks, while aged expressions like reposado and añejo work well in Old Fashioned and Manhattan riffs. 

From classics like the Margarita to more modern creations like the Siesta, here are 28 delicious cocktails tequila fans should add to their repertoire.

  • Margarita

    Margarita / Tim Nusog

    While the origins of this classic sour are up for debate, there’s no question that it’s one of the most popular cocktails in the world. The combination of blanco tequila and lime juice—sweetened with orange liqueur, agave syrup, or a combination of the two—has inspired countless riffs since its likely debut in the mid-20th century. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Paloma

    Paloma cocktail served in highball glass with lime wheel, shot on woven placemat with tan background / Tim Nusog

    It’s uncertain who first mixed up this grapefruit-flavored classic, but the combination of tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime juice has become one of Mexico’s favorite drinks since it debuted in the 1950s. Although a blanco tequila is the traditional choice, a lightly aged reposado also makes a fine drink. You can even swap in mezcal espadín.

    Get the recipe.

  • Siesta

    Siesta cocktail served in a coupe glass and garnished with grapefruit peel, shot against marble backdrop / Tim Nusog

    Bar pro Katie Stipe was inspired by the Hemingway Daiquiri to create this riff in 2006 while working at New York City’s now-closed Pegu Club, swapping the classic’s white rum base for blanco tequila and maraschino liqueur for bitter Campari. Tequila and lime juice make the drink an unlikely cross between its Hemingway inspiration and a Margarita variation. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Tequila Manhattan

    Tequila Manhattan cocktail served in a coupe and garnished with lime twist, shot against marble background / Tim Nusog

    Reposado tequila typically ages in oak barrels that once held American whiskey, so it’s a natural fit for whiskey-centric drinks like the Manhattan. Also known as the Distrito Federal, after the former moniker of Mexico City, this spirit-forward drink swaps whiskey for reposado tequila alongside sweet vermouth and orange bitters. 

    Get the recipe.

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  • Tequila Daisy

    Tequila Daisy cocktail in gold-rimmed coupe glass, shot against gray background / Tim Nusog

    This citrusy precursor to the Margarita—which translates to “daisy” in English—contains tequila, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, sugar, and a splash of club soda. Though its origins are largely unknown, it likely stemmed from the Brandy Daisy, a popular pre-Prohibition drink.

    Get the recipe.

  • Rosita

    Rosita cocktail served in lowball glass and garnished with lemon twist, shot against gray background / Tim Nusog

    Negroni fans may find a new favorite order in this spirit-forward and bittersweet drink, popularized by the late Gary “Gaz” Regan. The modern classic combines reposado tequila with sweet and dry vermouths, Campari, and Angostura bitters.

    Get the recipe.

  • Spicy Margarita

    Spicy Margarita cocktail / Tim Nusog

    There’s no stopping the Spicy Margarita, which has become undeniably popular on bar menus around the world in the past couple decades. To make one at home, muddle jalapeño coins before shaking with blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and agave syrup.

    Get the recipe.

  • Tequila Espresso Martini

    Tequila Espresso Martini served in Nick and Nora glass with thick foam, garnished with three espresso beans and shot against tan background / Tim Nusog

    This bright, chocolate-y riff from Los Angeles bartender Karla Flores-Mercado combines a blanco tequila with Caffe Lolita coffee liqueur, coffee concentrate, honey syrup, Zucca Rabarbero Amaro, and lemon oils. “The earthiness and saltiness of [tequila] blend really well with everything that you think of in an Espresso Martini, like coffee and chocolate,” she says.

    Get the recipe.

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  • Tommy’s Margarita

    Tommys Margarita served in rocks glass with salted rim, shot against against tan background / Tim Nusog

    The legendary Julio Bermejo created this cocktail in the early ‘90s at his family’s restaurant, Tommy’s Mexican, in San Francisco—and to some, it’s the only version of a Margarita worth drinking. The mixture relies solely on agave nectar to sweeten a mix of blanco tequila and lime juice, omitting orange liqueur. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Greenhorn

    Neon green Greenhorn cocktail in Nick & Nora glass, with green maraschino cheery at bottom, on marble background / Tim Nusog

    Houston bartender Bobby Heugel was inspired by the flavor combination of agave and melons to create this three-ingredient drink that can easily be replicated at bars and at home. The fruit-forward and gently bitter recipe includes blanco tequila, bright-green Midori, and gentian liqueur Suze.

    Get the recipe.

  • Cantarito

    Cantarito cocktail served in clay jug with tajin rim and lime wedge / Tim Nusog

    Traditionally served in a clay cup of the same name, this citrusy and fizzy cocktail is popular in Jalisco, Mexico, the state that is known for tequila’s production. Similar to a Paloma, it combines reposado tequila, multiple citrus juices, and a pinch of salt for slightly more complex results.
    Get the recipe.

  • Café Royal’s Tequila Matador

    Cafe Royal Matador cocktail in a Nick and Nora glass / Tim Nusog

    This classic first appeared in the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book, which featured some of the earliest known cocktails to use tequila. The equal-parts combination of tequila, dry vermouth, and orange curaçao can easily be tweaked to taste.

    Get the recipe.

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  • El Diablo

    El Diablo cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This refreshing mid-century classic from Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, published in 1946, combines reposado tequila, black currant liqueur crème de cassis, lime juice, and ginger beer. While the recipe here calls for shaking the ingredients, you can also build the drink directly in the glass and add the crème de cassis last for a layered effect.

    Get the recipe.

  • Añejo Old Fashioned

    Anejo Old Fashioned served with ice in rocks glass, garnished with maraschino cherry and shot against textured white background / Tim Nusog

    The toasty notes of a barrel-aged tequila are well-suited to variations on whiskey cocktails like the Old Fashioned. This recipe comes from New York City bar pro Julie Reiner and swaps whiskey for añejo tequila alongside agave nectar and Angostura bitters.

    Get the recipe.

  • Mexican Firing Squad

    Mexican Firing Squad cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This refreshing and tart classic, which first appeared in Charles H. Baker’s Gentleman’s Companion in 1939, was inspired by a cocktail the roving writer tried in Mexico City. What was once a very dry drink has evolved to meet modern tastes, combining blanco tequila, lime juice, grenadine, and Angostura bitters.

    Get the recipe.

  • Tequila Sunrise

    Layered Tequila Sunrise cocktail in highball glass, garnished with maraschino cherry and orange wheel, shot against gray background / Tim Nusog

    Created in the early 1970s at the Trident Bar in Sausalito, California, this fun tequila classic got a boost in popularity when The Rolling Stones began ordering it at stops across the country on their 1972 tour. Adding grenadine last to a combination of tequila and orange juice allows the grenadine to sink for a striking and easy-to-create visual effect.

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  • Tequila Mockingbird

    Tequila Mockingbird cocktail served in rocks glass with large ice cubes, shot against gray background / Tim Nusog

    Muddled jalapeño and watermelon cubes add a refreshing kick to this Spicy Margarita riff from New York City bartender Greg Seider. Blanco tequila, lime juice, and agave syrup also go into the shaker.

    Get the recipe.

  • Ranch Water

    Ranch Water cocktail served in highball glass with lime wedge, Topo Chico bottle in background / Tim Nusog

    The unofficial cocktail of West Texas is a simple combination of blanco tequila, lime juice, and sparkling mineral water. While it may seem like a regular Tequila Soda, the drink’s calling card is Topo Chico, which fans swear by. You can also add a splash of orange liqueur for a bubbly Margarita riff. 

    Get the recipe.

  • La Perla

    La Perla cocktail garnished with lemon twist and shot against white background / Tim Nusog

    This elegant three-ingredient cocktail from bar pro Jacques Bezuidenhout combines a lightly aged reposado tequila with manzanilla sherry and pear liqueur. Bezuidenhout calls it a “wonderfully dry aperitivo-style drink.”

    Get the recipe.

  • Lone Ranger

    Pink Lone Ranger cocktail served in highball glass with cubed ice and lemon twist, shot against white background / Tim Nusog

    This French 75-inspired cocktail from bar pro Jeffrey Morgenthaler may be the perfect summer drink. He tops a mixture of blanco tequila, lemon juice, and rich simple syrup with rosé sparkling wine.

    Get the recipe.

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  • Savory Margarita

    Savory Margarita cocktail served in rocks glass with cubed ice and lime wheel, shot against tan background / Tim Nusog

    It’s not quite a green juice, but this drink from bartending veteran Charlotte Voisey packs a veggie-forward flavor. She combines reposado tequila with lime and fresh red bell pepper juice, which she balances with honey syrup and enlivens with fresh cilantro.

    Get the recipe.

  • Tequila Honey Bee

    Tequila Honey Bee cocktail served in rocks glass with cubed ice and lemon twist, shot against textured white background / Tim Nusog

    This agave-forward Bee’s Knees variation from chef and bartender Nick Korbee combines reposado tequila, honey syrup, lemon juice, and Angostura bitters. A dash of mezcal rinses the glass for a hint of smoke.

    Get the recipe.

  • Bright Lights

    Bright Lights cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Flat sparkling wine finds new life in the rosé cava syrup that bar pro Ivy Mix prepares for this drink she developed at Leyenda in Brooklyn, New York. The syrup sweetens a bright and complex combination of blanco tequila, sotol, verjus, and celery bitters.

    Get the recipe.

  • Colletti Royale

    Colletti Royale cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The Margarita meets the Spritz in this citrusy and slightly floral sparkler from Reiner. She tops a mixture of reposado tequila, Cointreau, St-Germain, blood orange and lime juices, and orange bitters with rosé Champagne.

    Get the recipe.

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  • Tequila Corpse Reviver

    Tequila Corpse Reviver in coupe glass with orange twist, shot against gray background / Tim Nusog

    This Corpse Reviver No. 2 riff from blogger and recipe developer Matt Armato nods to the original but includes a few twists. The citrusy and slightly floral drink combines blanco tequila with blanc vermouth, triple sec, absinthe, lime, and orange juice.

    Get the recipe.

  • Bloody Maria

    Bloody Maria cocktail garnished with lemon and lime wedges, jalapeno, and garlic / Tim Nusog

    We don’t know who first swapped vodka for tequila in the classic Bloody Mary template, but it’s become a go-to brunch order for agave-spirit fans ever since. While versions vary, ours combines tequila with tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, two hot sauces, celery salt, and ground black pepper.

    Get the recipe.

  • White Dragon

    White Dragon cocktail / Tim Nusog

    This variation on the gin-based White Lady from legendary bartender Jim Meehan combines a blanco tequila with Cointreau, lemon juice, and an egg white. Its citrusy flavor profile and tequila base also make it a great deviation from the typical Margarita.

    Get the recipe.

  • Tequila Limeade

    Tequila Limeade / Tim Nusog

    This savory-leaning Mojito variation from Armato swaps the rum base for blanco tequila and mint for cilantro and jalapeño. Sweetened with agave nectar and topped with club soda, it’s an ideal warm-weather drink.

    Get the recipe.