25 Best Mixers For Delicious Tequila Cocktails
, by Joshua Soriano
, by Joshua Soriano
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Tequila is often seen as a shot, taken with salt and a wedge of lime or lemon. But when mixed with other beverages, sweeteners, and condiments, the possibilities are endless for amazing tequila cocktails!
There are three main kinds of tequila: Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo. Each one exhibits multidimensional flavors that meld beautifully with various mixers, from fruit juices to unique syrups.
So, whether you’re into tropical drinks, fizzy highballs, or slow sippers, the best mixers can transform your favorite tequila into something extraordinary!
Best Overall: Lime Juice
Almost every tequila cocktail calls for lime juice because it fits so well whether Blanco, Reposado, or Añejo is used. Its bright and tart profile does a great job rounding out the alcohol’s sweetness and spiciness.
We also like how the lime provides acidity and a little bitterness that balances the flavors of other sweet ingredients in a drink without overshadowing them.
Perhaps the most popular tequila cocktail with lime juice is the classic Margarita. If not in a drink, you can use lime juice as a chaser, along with salt, when taking tequila shots.
Related: The Best Tequilas for Margarita
While “tequila and tonic” doesn’t have the same ring as “gin and tonic,” we guarantee you will still enjoy its taste. The water’s bitter flavor from the quinine, and a hint of sweetness, complements a Blanco tequila’s agave-forward and citrusy taste.
Since tonic water is carbonated, it also adds an acidic bite that makes every sip more refreshing and satisfying. A squeeze of lime juice can be added to elevate the flavors.
Related: The Best Tonic Water
Although pineapple is not a citrus fruit, it has a lot of similarities with the latter. It is tangy, packed with Vitamin C, and goes great with tequila. We admire its perfect sweetness paired with an acidic bite that can hold up to the tequila’s earthiness and fiery kick.
You can use fresh pineapple juice, but you would need a juicer. For convenience, canned or bottled pineapple works just as well.
It is arguably the best fruit juice used in tropical cocktails because it has a warm sunny vibe. A Tequila Pineapple Sour would be a perfect drink on a hot day!
Related: The Best Cold Press Juicer
Grapefruit has different varieties, but pink grapefruit is most commonly used in cocktails. It has a great blend of tanginess, sweetness, and bitterness, is easy to juice, and gives any cocktail an attractive light pink color.
We recommend Blanco or Reposado tequila for grapefruit juice. The former’s citrus and herbal notes and the latter’s decadent and spicy taste would work amazingly with the grapefruit’s bright, tart flavors.
Compared to lemon or lime, orange juice is sweeter and usually not sour. It’s one of those ingredients that effortlessly mix with any alcohol, including tequila. And we like that whether we use fresh juice or bottled juice, the resulting drink will be fantastic!
It is also a staple mixer for brunch drinks and summer cocktails, such as the Tequila Screwdriver. And because of its bright orange color, adding a splash of red from Grenadine syrup makes it even more vibrant. Doing so will give you a delicious Tequila Sunrise!
Related: 101 Mimosa Cocktail Recipes
Tomato juice is quite an unconventional mixer, but it is the main ingredient of one of the most inventive cocktails - the Bloody Mary. If you substitute the vodka with tequila, it becomes a Bloody Maria!
Tomato juice provides a salty, tart, and fresh taste that will complement a tequila’s sweet, spicy and woodsy side. It’s an excellent mixer for savory cocktails that are perfect for brunch.
If you want your Bloody Maria to have more kick, you can use a jalapeño tequila. And if you don’t have the other ingredients on hand, you can use a Bloody Mary mix.
Related: The Best Bloody Mary Accessories
Steven Clement, founder and beverage program manager of Lost & Found, shares that watermelon is his favorite pairing with tequila in the summertime.
Since watermelon is high in water content, it can be easily blended or muddled. Just make sure to strain it before adding it to cocktails to get the seeds out. You’re also free to use the juice version.
Clement adds, “Don’t forget to add some citrus to boost the acidity and the saline to enhance and complete your combination balance. A little Serrano pepper shaken into your shaker tin will give your finished cocktail a distinguished boost to your experience.”
Related: The Best Blenders
Lemon juice is identical to lime juice in many ways. They are both citrus fruits that are a staple in the bar and usually have the same application in cocktails. However, lemons tend to be sweeter than limes and more sour rather than bitter.
We also love its pleasant fresh scent that can make tequila more appealing. You can substitute lime with lemon in cocktails if you prefer a milder flavor. Try a lemon-lime soda for a fizzy option, and for a sweeter mixer, we recommend lemonade.
It’s rare to find vegetable juice in a bar, but we guarantee that cucumber juice has a place there and even more so in a tequila cocktail. Unlike most fruit juices, cucumber juice is not sweet. But it is very refreshing, making tequila cocktails easier and more enjoyable to drink.
While you can make your own cucumber juice using a blender, you may need to add natural sweeteners, like apples, to make it more palatable. To save time, store-bought cucumbers are the right way to go since these are already adjusted to having a balanced taste.
Related: Cocktails With Vegetable Juice
“Coconut water is known as a great hangover cure, but its nutty, sweet flavors mirror the warm notes in tequila, making it an excellent pairing mixer,” expresses Linda Arceo, Cocktail Columnist of Giggles, Gobbles, and Gulp.
If you want to give your tequila cocktail a creamy texture and sweeter profile, you can use cream of coconut. Add a squeeze of lime and a splash of orange liqueur, and you got yourself a treat!
Aloe vera is often used as a remedy for various skin conditions, but did you know it’s edible? In fact, it makes dishes and drinks more refreshing with its cooling properties.
This plant is often described as having a bitter, citrusy taste. While you can blend aloe vera gel to make juice, it may taste poorly. So, you’ll need to adjust the flavor by adding herbs and natural sweeteners.
If you’re not up for all these preparations, we suggest buying bottled aloe vera juice. Make sure to get those with low or no sugar added and no artificial flavors. Experience how this plant interacts with tequila’s peppery and citrusy side with an Aloe Vera Margarita!
Related: How Many Carbs in Tequila
Simple syrup is the unsung hero in many cocktails. It provides the right amount of sweetness while not clashing with the alcohol and other ingredients’ flavors. It is also easy to make at home; just combine a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
If you want a richer syrup, you can use a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. For a tasty toffee flavor, use Demerara or brown sugar instead of white.
Grenadine syrup is a sweetener made from pomegranate and is known for its deep red color. It can be a great substitute for simple syrup that adds a hint of tartness, which is a great accompaniment to tequila.
Some people opt to sweeten cocktails with grenadine syrup because it lends a beautiful red or pink color to beverages. And because it is denser than other liquid ingredients, it produces an awesome layer when poured into the drink slowly.
Related: The Best Tropical Sunset Cocktails
Agave syrup, or agave nectar, is a natural sweetener derived from the agave plant. Some varieties are made from 100% Blue agave, like tequila, which tends to have higher quality. It is similar to honey but has a slightly thinner texture, making it easily dissolved in cocktails.
The flavor of agave syrup depends on its type. Light syrups have a sweet but neutral flavor and are used like simple syrup. It will serve well in Blanco tequila.
Amber syrups are the most common and versatile, known for their caramel flavor. This will be a great complement to Reposado tequila. Finally, dark syrups have a deeper, nutty flavor and are usually used in the kitchen rather than the bar.
Hibiscus syrup is just as pretty as the flower it is derived from. Its lovely deep ruby color adds vibrancy to drinks and food. And in terms of flavor, it provides a sweet, floral, and slightly tangy profile to drinks.
It can also be a substitute for simple and grenadine syrup, which can take a classic cocktail to the next level. We recommend it for tequila cocktails that call for lime or lemon juice and sparkling water or tonic water.
Triple Sec is one of the main ingredients of the Margarita, but it’s also good for other tropical tequila-based cocktails. It is a sweet liqueur made from orange peels that enhances the citrus notes in a cocktail. It also counterbalances the alcohol’s spiciness, earthiness, and oakiness.
Triple Sec usually has a straightforward orangey taste and lower ABV. If you want to make your cocktail stronger and have a more complex flavor, try Cointreau, a premium brand of triple sec.
Creme de Cassis is a sweet, rich liqueur made from blackcurrants. It boasts a very dark violet color that turns lighter when put in a cocktail. Tastewise, it is full of lush dark berry that adds a fruity complexity to the tequila and rounds out its vegetal features.
If you’re using a particularly standard tequila, Creme de Cassis can help elevate the flavors. Its sweetness also offsets the zestiness of limes in an El Diablo cocktail. Since Creme de Cassis is sweet, it’s best to use it in moderation to prevent making the tequila cloying.
Related: The Best Tequilas For The Money
Dry vermouth is generally light-bodied and has a fruity, herbal, and floral profile that will fit a Blanco tequila’s clean citrus and grassy taste. In contrast, sweet vermouth has a medium body and heartier notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel, similar to a Reposado tequila.
Related: The Best Vermouths
Even though bitters are used in small amounts, they still pack a punch. They are usually used to season a cocktail with spiciness and bitterness and are commonly used in a tequila Old Fashioned.
Since it is a strong ingredient, we recommend not putting too much so your drink will not be imbalanced. To add an extra layer of citrus to your tequila, try orange bitters.
Related: What Are Bitters?
People like tequila for its spicy side, so what better way to enhance this flavor with a touch of fizziness than with ginger beer or ginger ale?
Ginger beer has a more pronounced ginger flavor and is spicier, pairing well with Blanco tequila’s agave and peppery taste. Delight yourself in a Mexican Mule, and see how the flavors interact.
On the other hand, ginger ale is sweeter with a milder spiciness, so it will be good for either Reposado or Añejo tequila’s oak, vanilla, and caramel expressions. You can use it in a 2-ingredient cocktail or add other components, as well.
“Mixers with a small amount of salt, minerals, and/or acid help brighten the flavor,” says Corrinne Walenda, Corporate Training Manager and Perlick Brand Ambassador.
Club soda is often used to provide fizziness to tequila highballs. With its added minerals, it lends a salty taste that brings out the sweetness of tequila. You can also use sparkling water for an easy Ranch Water.
“A few ounces of Blanco tequila with a soda that has a higher mineral content, like Topo Chico, plus a wedge of lime is a perfect refresher on a hot day,” Walenda adds.
Rum and coke, or Cuba Libre, is a classic combination, but if you replace the rum with tequila, and add lime juice and a salt rim, then you will have a Batanga cocktail! We appreciate how this Mexican highball is very easy to make yet provides a satisfyingly refreshing sipper on a hot day.
The cola’s sweetness from its vanilla and caramel tastes works surprisingly well with the tequila’s fruity and earthy flavors. Not to mention, it gives a delightful acidic bite from the carbonation that makes you want to drink more.
According to Allie Albanese, founder of Parched Around the World, “Something spicy like jalapeño also makes a great accompaniment for tequila if spiciness is your goal!”
“Rather than dulling tequila's fiery flames, spicy ingredients help to fan it and bring out the spicy quality that tequila is so well known for,” she notes.
To prepare the drink, you can either slice jalapeños and put them directly into the drink or muddle them first for a spicier outcome.
Related: The Best Spicy Cocktails
Passionfruit is another tropical fruit that makes amazing variants of classic tequila cocktails. Put a twist on Margarita, Paloma, and tequila Mojito by adding passionfruit pulp, and see how the flavors are elevated!
Like other tropical fruits, passion fruit is sweet, tart, and aromatic. The main difference is its look, with passionfruit having a juicy yellow center with black seeds. This makes cocktails made with it distinctive and unique!
Red Bull has wide varieties, but we recommend the Red Bull Yellow Edition for a tropical drink. As the name suggests, this one is bursting with tropical fruit flavors, like mango, pineapple, and a bit of papaya, which would complement the tequila’s citrusy features.
It would also go well with other fruit juices that most tequila cocktails feature. Add it to a tropical margarita to give it a boost of energy!
Tequila cocktails are among the best drinks served in bars or made at home because of how well the alcohol blends with different mixers.
One of them stands out because of its versatility: lime juice! No matter what type of tequila is used or another mixer is added, lime juice can round out the flavors with its citrusy and acidic nature.
Which tequila mixer is your favorite one to use? We’d love to hear about your tequila journey in the comments below.
Whether you’re formulating tequila cocktail recipes or just looking to improve classic ones, allow these factors to guide you in choosing the best mixers.
Mixers can be in different forms, including juice, syrup, sparkling beverages, and whole foods. Each plays a different role in a drink and can be used alone or as a combination.
The type of mixer to use depends on what cocktail you intend to make. For example, a margarita’s standard recipe calls for tequila, lime juice, and triple sec. On the other hand, tequila highballs often require soda or other sparkling beverages.
Standard recipes can also be enhanced by replacing or adding flavored syrups, other juices, and condiments.
Various mixers may be used differently, depending on the quality of the tequila. “A bottom-shelf tequila can have a gasoline or hand sanitizer quality to it, so you would want to overpower those impurities with bold fruit flavors,” says Paul Kushner, mixologist, and CEO of My Bartender.
“For instance, lime margarita mix does this by having lots of sugar and sour lime juice to distract from the lower quality tequila. The higher the quality of tequila, the less sugar you'll need to enjoy your drink,” he notes.
Similarly, Allie Albanese says, “If you're using an expensive, aged tequila that's full of flavor, you don't want to mix it with ingredients that will cover up its special nuances. Instead, you want to use mixers that allow its layers of complexity to shine and reveal themselves with every sip.”
Some mixers work well with tequila and other mixers, making them a staple in the bar. Some examples would be lime juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, bitters, and club soda.
Because of their versatility, they can be applied in numerous cocktails. They’re also quite cheap and quick to source, making them easily accessible.
Other mixers have distinct flavors and are not used as often as the common ones. But they provide opportunities for experimentation and creating variants of classic tequila cocktails.
While combining several mixers with tequila is okay, it’s important to exercise restraint since some ingredients are easy to go overboard.
As Courtney Smith, owner of Chesapeake Bartenders, puts it, “The mixer selected should not mask the flavor of the tequila. It should simply complement it.”
A standard tequila cocktail needs tequila, citrus juice for acidity, and a sweetener. You can play with complementary or contrasting flavors to see which combination is best for your taste. Don’t add anything that can ruin the drink's balance by making it too sweet, sour, or bland.
Choose mixers with low sugar content, such as coconut water and aloe vera. For juices, it’s better to use fresh ones since bottled juice may have added sugar. And for fizzy drinks, you can choose keto-friendly sparkling water.
Generally, it is better to use fresh juice because they taste more natural and are less sweet.
Paul Hudson, a writer at Playas y Plazas, says, “I believe it is a bartender's responsibility to squeeze their own juice. It is one of the principal techniques that separates an exceptional agave program from an average one.”
However, there are exemptions to other ingredients that may be difficult to prepare, such as coconut, pineapple, and aloe vera. For these ingredients, you can buy pre-made ones for convenience.
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