Ranch Water: The Refreshing Tequila Cocktail You Need to Try


You’re sitting outside on a hot summer day Ranch Water, the sun beating down, and you’re dying for something refreshing. But you want a drink with a little more oomph than your average margarita or daiquiri. What you need is a glass of ranch water, the ultimate thirst-quenching cocktail that’s been gaining popularity across the country. This tequila-based drink combines the bright, citrusy flavor of lime with the fizz of sparkling water for a combo that will knock your socks off.

Ranch water might sound simple, but don’t underestimate it. The balance of tart and bubbly in this cocktail makes it the ideal choice for cooling down on a scorching afternoon. Just thinking about that first icy sip of ranch water is enough to transport you straight to summer. So if you’re looking for your new go-to drink for the dog days ahead, read on to learn how to mix up this easy and delicious tequila refresher.

What Is Ranch Water?

Ranch water is a classic tequila cocktail that comes straight from Texas. It’s made of just three simple ingredients: tequila, lime juice, and sparkling water. Some folks like to call it a “Mexican gin and tonic” because of its refreshing, citrusy flavor. ###

The original ranch water was created in Marfa, Texas, a small desert town in the western part of the state. The cocktail was born out of necessity since fresh ingredients were scarce. Ranchers and cowboys would mix tequila, lime juice, and sparkling water over ice to create a crisp, thirst-quenching drink after a long day’s work.

Keeping It Simple

The beauty of ranch water lies in its simplicity. All you need is a premium blanco tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice, and carbonated water like club soda or Topo Chico. The lime juice adds a bright, tart kick that is balanced out by the fizz of the sparkling water. The result is a light, citrusy cocktail that is extremely refreshing.

Some bartenders like to garnish their ranch waters with a lime wedge, but even that is optional. Ranch water is meant to be an easy-drinking, no-fuss cocktail. The most important thing is using high-quality, natural ingredients so you can truly taste the vibrant flavors.

Whether you’re in Texas or Timbuktu, ranch water is the perfect cocktail for a hot summer day. With just a few basic ingredients, you can mix up a batch of this classic tequila refresher and transport yourself to the ranch lands of West Texas with every cool, bubbly sip. Now that’s what we call refreshment, cowboy style!

The Origins and History of Ranch Water

Ranch water has its roots in West Texas, where the cocktail was born on ranches in the hot summer months. Ranchers originally made do with what they had on hand: tequila, lime, and sparkling water. This simple combination was refreshing and hydrating, perfect for long days working under the sun.

A Thirst-Quenching Classic

Over time, ranch water made its way into bars and restaurants, though it has always remained a casual, unpretentious drink. The tequila gives it a kick, while the lime adds a bright, tangy flavor and the soda water provides fizz. It’s a winning combination that’s irresistibly crisp and citrusy.

Even as cocktails have become more complex, ranch water endures because of its simplicity and ability to satisfy thirst. While the exact proportions can vary, a classic ranch water contains two parts tequila, three parts soda water, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Some bartenders muddle additional lime wedges or add a splash of orange liqueur. Either way, it’s a cocktail that lets the ingredients shine through.

A Drink for All Occasions

Though ranch water is ideal for hot summer days, it’s a delight any time of year. Whether enjoying a casual barbecue with friends or a night out at a trendy bar, ranch water is a perfect cocktail choice. It’s light enough for early evening but contains enough tequila to keep the party going late into the night. No wonder ranch water has become popular far beyond the ranches of West Texas. This classic cocktail is here to stay.

How to Make Ranch Water

Making a refreshing glass of ranch water is simple. You only need a few ingredients: tequila, lime juice, and sparkling water.


For ranch water, use a crisp, clean tequila blanco or reposado. Blanco tequila is unaged, so it has a strong agave flavor that stands up well to the lime and bubbles. Reposado tequila is aged for at least two months, so it has mellowed slightly and taken on notes of wood and caramel that also pair nicely in this cocktail. Avoid anejo tequila which is aged for over a year and has robust oak flavors that can overpower the other ingredients.

Lime juice

Freshly squeezed lime juice is essential for ranch water. Use 3/4 to 1 ounce of lime juice per drink. Roll the lime firmly under your palm on the counter before squeezing to release the juices. Strain the lime juice to remove any pulp or seeds. The bright, tart lime juice balances the tequila and adds a touch of acidity.

Sparkling water

For bubble, you can use club soda, sparkling mineral water or Topo Chico. The fizz from 3 to 4 ounces of sparkling water per drink lifts the flavors of the tequila and lime and gives the cocktail a lighter body. You can also adjust the amount of sparkling water up or down depending on how fizzy you want your ranch water.

Ice (optional)

While ice is not a requirement for ranch water, you can add a few cubes if desired. The ice will chill the cocktail without diluting it too much. Crushed or cubed ice both work well.

To make the cocktail, combine 2 ounces of tequila, 3/4 to 1 ounce of lime juice and 3 to 4 ounces of sparkling water with ice (if using) in a tall glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy! The classic, no-frills ranch water is the perfect drink for sipping in the sun. Salud!

Ranch Water Variations to Try

Grapefruit Ranch Water

For a tangy twist, use grapefruit juice instead of lime. The tartness of the grapefruit complements the tequila nicely. You’ll want to use about 3 ounces of grapefruit juice and 2 ounces of tequila. Adjust to your taste. This variation has a gorgeous pink hue and is perfect for brunch.

Spicy Ranch Water

Add a kick of heat to your Ranch Water with a splash of chili-infused tequila and a squeeze of jalapeño or habanero juice. Start with 1/2 ounce of the chili tequila and a few drops of the pepper juice. You can always add more heat, but you can’t take it away! The lime juice helps balance the spiciness. This fiery variation is ideal for adventurous palates.

Watermelon Ranch Water

For a refreshing summery Ranch Water, muddle a few chunks of fresh watermelon in the bottom of a glass and top with tequila, lime juice and club soda. The natural sweetness of the watermelon pairs perfectly with the tart lime and tequila. You’ll want seedless watermelon for the best results. This is a gorgeous vibrant pink drink with a wonderful fruity aroma.

Peach or Mango Ranch Water

Use 1 ounce of peach or mango puree in place of 1 ounce of the lime juice for a tropical twist. The stone fruit flavors complement the tequila and club soda for a vacation in a glass. For extra decadence, garnish your peach or mango Ranch Water with a wedge of fresh fruit. Close your eyes and imagine you’re on a beach for the ultimate summer escape!

With so many possible variations, you’ll never get bored making Ranch Waters at home. Experiment with different juices, teas, and fruit purees to create your perfect customized cocktail. Your Ranch Water adventure awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions About Ranch Water

What type of tequila should I use?

For the most authentic ranch water, use a crisp, clean blanco or silver tequila. Blancos allow the true flavors of the lime and bubbly water to shine through. Reposados and añejos tend to be more complex and can overpower the simple flavors in a ranch water. If blancos aren’t your thing, a light reposado like El Jimador will also work great.

Can I use bottled lime juice instead of fresh lime wedges?

Fresh lime wedges are key to an authentic ranch water. Bottled lime juice lacks the bright, tart flavor of fresh lime juice and often contains preservatives that can make your cocktail taste artificial. For the best results, use 2-3 lime wedges that you’ve squeezed yourself.

What type of sparkling water should I use?

Mineral water or club soda are the most common mixers for ranch water. Avoid tonic water which is too sweet and masks the flavor of the tequila and lime. As for mineral water or club soda, choose an unsweetened variety with medium carbonation. This will give your ranch water a little fizz without it being overpowering.

Can I add a salted rim?

A salted rim is optional but not required for ranch water. The classic recipe calls for just tequila, lime, and sparkling water. However, the addition of a salted rim made from lime juice and kosher salt helps to enhance the tangy, citrusy flavors in the drink and adds extra flavor and crunch. If desired, rim half the glass so you can enjoy the drink with and without the salt.

How did ranch water get its name?

Ranch water is named after the “agua de rancho” or ranch-style water commonly found in Texas and Northern Mexico. This simply refers to the refreshing lime-infused water that ranch hands and farmers would drink to cool off and stay hydrated. Today, ranch water has come to mean that simple combination of tequila, lime, and sparkling water that’s ideal for hot summer days. The name is meant to evoke feelings of relaxation and the laid-back ranch lifestyle.


So there you have it, the refreshing and tasty cocktail that’s taken Texas by storm. Ranch water is the ideal drink for hanging out with friends or just relaxing on a hot summer day. The tequila gives it a nice kick, while the lime, soda, and ice make it super refreshing. It’s crazy easy to make too – just three ingredients and a few minutes.

Try whipping up a batch for your next patio party or barbecue. Once your guests get a taste, you can bet they’ll be begging you for the recipe. The best part is you can play around with different tequila brands or add your own twist. However you make it, this fizzy and flavorful cocktail is sure to quench your thirst and become your new go-to summer sipper.

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