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What is Ranch Water?

Ranch water is the ultimate thirst quenching solution for anyone who wants a Texas-style tequila drink on a scorching hot day!  Made with lime, tequila, and Topo Chico, the popular bubbly drink has won over many people and inspired mixologists to create their own take on the beverage many Texans will agree is the best thing that could be offered to you on a hot, sunny day.

How Ranch Water Got It's Start

Every region of the United States has it's own take on what to sip on when the sun is beaming down on them.  As a born and raised Midwesterner,  beer is the ultimate refreshment.  When I learned to walk my Dad started asking me to go to the basement fridge for a “cold beer” after mowing the lawn on Summer Days.  I used to proudly fetch him these beverages to help him get through the day.  Living in South Florida, you see a lot of Sangria, Champagne, and even Margaritas.  But in Texas, there is no debate what people reach for when the sun's out, and that is a tequila based drink called Ranch Water.

Depending on who you want to believe, Ranch Water started as a drink for cattle ranchers that started as some sparking water over ice, and over time developed a pinch of tequila and even some lime.  Of course, when the popularity started to grow and more ranchers found out about this, the tequila became a staple and you can find it being served in dive bars across the State.  Most stories do agree that it's a “West Texas” thing, but I always love hearing from people with a more in depth take, so please comment below as I'd love to hear from you!

Since Ranch Water is a tequila based drink, you will definitely hear about comparisons to margaritas.  However, these are not only less sweet, but they are a heck of a lot easier to make.  With only three ingredients needed in a basic Ranch Water cocktail, even the least-equipped home bar has a shot at having all of the ingredients needed to make this refreshing cocktail.  Most people have limes around during the Summer months, and most people have at least one bottle of tequila sitting around, so for anyone who hasn't heard of this cocktail, I'd have to venture a guess to say they may have to go out and find Topo Chico.

Topo Chico is widely available in super markets and authentic Mexican Food marts in the USA, but I've seen them being sold more frequently over the years.  You have to use Topo Chico in this drink, don't even try to use another random sparkling water because the Topo Chico bubbles are something that can't be replicated!  You can ask around and there will be a wide agreement on that take, please feel free to test me!

How to Make Ranch Water

If you can't find this beverage in your local tequila bar or restaurant, there's an easy way to make this at home in just a few steps.  When I last visited Texas and was served Ranch Water, there wasn't any measuring going on, but if you are the type that likes to be precise when making cocktails, I'll provide an outline of how to make Ranch Water at home in just a few steps.

Step 1:  Add Ice to a tall collins glass.

Step 2:  Fill with 3 oz. (two shots) of blanco tequila.

Step 3:  Squeeze the juice of half of a lime wedge into the glass.  This will be about 1.5 ounces of lime juice.

Step 4:  Top with cold Topo Chico.

Ranch Water Variations

Of course many people have their own take on this drink, so of course I made my own as well.

Tequila Tim's Ranch Water Recipe

I personally coat the rim of the glass with a fresh lime and then dip the glass in either Tajin or Chili lime salt.  I then garnish the drink with a lime wedge.  So fancy, I know.  

Grapefruit Ranch Water

Add a splash of grapefruit juice to your drink to create a taste similar to that of a Paloma.

Grand Marnier Ranch Water

Add a splash of Grand Marnier to your drink to create more sweetness.

Jalapeno Ranch Water

Add muddled jalapeno slices at the bottom of the cocktail.

You can also find flavored Topo Chico!  Feel free to test out your favorite versions by mixing and matching the Hint of Lime or Grapefruit flavors as your base.

 

Tim

Tequila Tim is an avid tequila and mezcal drinker. While not in his day job of Marketing, he's made it his goal to entertain, educate, and bring joy to fellow agave lovers across the world with product reviews, hot takes, and tequila travel stories. Make sure to subscribe to Tequila Tales on YouTube so you don't miss any updates!

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