The margarita: it's likely the first cocktail you think of when grabbing a bottle of your favorite tequila. Although it serves as a go-to for many sipping savants, the margarita shouldn't be the one and only tequila cocktail you indulge in. While the margarita is its own delicious entity, the complexity and character of tequila make it a great base for a variety of cocktails.
In fact, instead of whiskey, gin, etc., you can use tequila in an assortment of classic cocktails, from an Old Fashioned to the martini. And if you feel like getting creative, tequila is a versatile option for one-of-a-kind craft cocktails.
The cocktails ahead are boozy proof that there are a ton of tasty tequila cocktail options outside of the margarita. Here are some of our favorites.
Blackberry Tequila Lemon Cooler
The Recipe: Blackberry Tequila Lemon Cooler
The Hero Ingredient: You can expect all kinds of herbal deliciousness thanks to the addition of fresh thyme in this sip.
Pro Tip: If blackberries aren't quite your thing, substituting them with another berry is perfectly fine. "And If you don’t love blackberries? That’s no problem. This is just as refreshing and delicious when made with raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries!" says Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest.
Why We Love It: Simple and refreshing, the Blackberry Tequila Lemon Cooler can be made in a cinch.
The Recipe: Classic Tequila Sour
The Hero Ingredient: An unexpected though common ingredient, egg white gives this tequila cocktail its deliciously frothy consistency.
Pro Tip: To ensure that you make the most of your cocktail, A Couple Cooks recommend shaking it two separate times. "Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 15 seconds without ice. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake again for 30 seconds," they reveal.
Why We Love It: This cocktail retains some of the characteristics of a margarita (there's both tequila and lime juice), but has its own unique taste.
The Recipe: Fresh Paloma Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Freshly squeezed juice can make a huge difference taste wise in just about any cocktail. And the use of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice in this Paloma adds a hefty dose of flavor.
Pro Tip: If your grapefruit juice is leaning towards the tart side, simply add a little simple syrup. "Citrus fruit can vary in sweetness. If the grapefruit juice is too tart, add a bit of agave nectar or simple syrup to sweeten it up if desired," says Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore.
Why We Love It: With both grapefruit juice and lime juice, the Paloma is ideal when you're in the market for a sip that is heavily on the citrus.
Sparkling Bees Knees Cocktail
The Recipe: Sparkling Bees Knees Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Eyes usually widen with delight whenever anything caramelized is incorporated into a dish or cocktail. And this cocktail, which calls for caramelized honey, is no different.
Pro Tip: This particular Bees Knees cocktail is big batch-friendly, but if you'd like to make a lone cocktail, Cooks With Cocktails have you covered. "Add some ice to a cocktail shaker and then add all the ingredients except the sparkling wine," they share. "Shake well and pour into a glass then top with the sparkling wine."
Why We Love It: With the addition of sparkling wine, this take on the Bees Knees is perfect for a celebratory sip.
The Recipe: Mexican Martini
The Hero Ingredient: Whether you're using tequila or gin, vermouth is an ingredient must-have in a martini.
Pro Tip: Crafting the perfect salt rim isn't as easy as it seems, but A Couple Cooks offer a few tips on how to best master this technique. "Spread the salt on a plate in an even layer. Take a lime wedge and cut a notch in the middle: then slide it around the rim of the glass," they explain. "This perfectly moistens the glass rim without having to use your fingers! Tilt the glass in the salt so that only the outside edge goes into the salt. Shake off any loose salt into the sink."
Why We Love It: Everyone loves a good martini, and every now and then it's nice to switch up the classic martini with something a little outside the box.
The Recipe: TeQuollins
The Hero Ingredient: Mineral water, which tops off this tequila cocktail, adds just the right amount of balance.
Pro Tip: If you're unsure of what tequila to use for your TeQuollins, Darling Down South's Cynthia Ruff recommends Dulce Vida Tequila thanks to its touch of citrus flavor. "I love how this Dulce Vida Tequila has a lot of lovely citrus flavor to it already, so mixing it with additional citrus was a no-brainer," she says.
Why We Love It: A unique spin on the Tom Collins, the TeQuollins is as creative as it is tasty.
Tequila Breakfast Mimosa
The Recipe: Tequila Breakfast Mimosa
The Hero Ingredient: Grapefruit juice can lean towards the bitter side, but the addition of simple syrup helps balance things out.
Pro Tip: Anna and Lisa of Garnish With Lemon reveal that using a cheap wine with this cocktail is a no-no. "I know it’s tempting to cheap out on the sparkling wine since it’s being mixed with fruit juice, but don’t do that," they explain. "Use something you would drink on its own."
Why We Love It: These Tequila Breakfast Mimosas are a worthwhile option when your standard mimosa gets a little too been-there-done-that.
Raspberry Rose Tequila Kombucha
The Recipe: Blackberry Rose Tequila Kombucha
The Hero Ingredient: Although it's an optional ingredient, rose water adds just a touch of floral flavor.
Pro Tip: If you aren't able to get your hands on any rose water, Half Baked Harvest's Tieghan Gerard explains that this cocktail works fine without it. "No big deal if you don’t have it or don’t feel like buying it…the combo of raspberry, lemon and tequila is a winner with or without it," she says.
Why We Love It: With ingredients like kombucha and fresh lemon juice, you don't have to feel terribly guilty about indulging in this cocktail.
Pomegranate Tequila Sidecar
The Recipe: Pomegranate Tequila Sidecar Cocktail
The Hero Ingredient: Although it might seem an unexpected combination, cognac and tequila play quite well together in this cocktail.
Pro Tip: Want the perfect orange twist? Hola Jalapeño's Kate Ramos explains how you can do just that with a channel knife. "Just run the channel knife around the orange then twist the strip of peel around the handle of a bar spoon or tie it around a few pieces of the looser Cassia cinnamon sold in most Latin markets," she says.
Why We Love It: Although the Pomegranate Tequila Sidecar is on the boozier side, it's still packed with flavor.
Tequila Old Fashioned
The Recipe: Tequila Old Fashioned
The Hero Ingredient: Whether you're making an Old Fashioned with tequila or whiskey, bitters are a must. This cocktail calls for both orange and Angostura bitters.
Pro Tip: While picking up the ingredients for this Old Fashioned, be sure to opt for a bottle of añejo tequila. "Soft, smooth and perfectly sippable, añejo tequila is a must have for this cocktail," the duo behind Garnish With Lemon reveal.
Why We Love It: The Tequila Old Fashioned proves that there really isn't any classic cocktail that can't be made using tequila.