Ranch Water may not be on your cocktail radar unless you live in Texas. However, this tequila highball cocktail is so easy to craft and refreshing to drink that it may become your favorite summer sipper.
We never heard of Ranch Water until we made a deep dive into researching tequila cocktails. We’d be embarrassed by our ignorance except that the drink’s popularity was previously limited to Texas cities like Austin and Houston.
It’s only recently that the tequila tipple journeyed up the interstate and beyond the lone star state’s borders. Not only have home mixologists like us discovered the Ranch Water’s charms, but companies like Coca-Cola have starting selling Ranch Water in cans to compete with the canned hard seltzer market.
What Is a Ranch Water?
Ranch Water is a three-ingredient cocktail crafted with blanco (i.e. white) tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and Topo Chico mineral water. Served with ice, Ranch Water is so refreshing that it’s almost too easy to drink.
If you think that Ranch Water sounds like a Margarita, you’re correct. But Ranch Water and Margaritas are decidedly not the same. The two recipes are different – the Margarita recipe includes orange liqueur while the Ranch Water recipe has fizzy Topo Chico. You’ll taste the difference after a sip or two.
History of Ranch Water
With a name like Ranch Water, it’s easy to picture workers swigging the drink after a long, hot day laboring at a Texas ranch. And, while Texas workers probably drank beverages similar to Ranch Water over the decades, there’s no written documentation of Ranch Water until the latter half of the 20th century.
Some people attribute the West Texas cocktail to Kevin Williamson, the original owner of Ranch 616 in Austin, who claimed the cocktail as his invention. Williamson passed away in 2021 and nobody has since proven otherwise.
Ranch Water Ingredients
You only need the following ingredients to craft Ranch Water at home:
Two of Ranch Water’s ingredients are sold by the bottle – blanco (white) tequila and Topo Chico mineral water. The third ingredient is a lime.
We recommend using your favorite tequila in this recipe. We typically use Jose Cuervo Especial tequila made with blue agave and Cointreau. Distilled in Mexico, Jose Cuervo Especial tequila has a 38% ABV.
Discover our favorite tequila cocktails.
While the tequila brand is negotiable, the mineral water is a different story. Ranch Water isn’t really Ranch Water unless it’s crafted with Topo Chico mineral water. Currently owned by the Coca-Cola company, the naturally bubbly, to the point of almost being foamy, water comes from Monterey, Mexico and is named after Mexico’s Cerro del Topo Chico mountain.
How to Craft Ranch Water At Home
You don’t need a lot of tools to craft Ranch Water at home. We use the following basic bar tools in our recipe:
Get creative if you’re missing one or both of these basic bar tools. For example, you could use an angled measuring cup instead of a jigger and a straw instead of a cocktail spoon.
Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.
Be aware that our Ranch Water recipe is both easy and fast to follow. Once you gather the ingredients and tools, you’ll be sipping in mere minutes.
The first step is to fill a highball glass with ice.
Measure the tequila and pour it directly into the ice-flled glass. We like to use a Japanese jigger for this step since it provides accurate measurements and facilitates a clean pour.
Purchase a Japanese Jigger from Amazon if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.
Next, pour the freshly squeezed lime juice into the same glass. We like to pre-measure the lime juice with a miniature angled measuring cup but you could use your jigger for this step.
Top the glass with Topo Chico mineral water. This is the step where the Ranch Water cocktail gets its bubbles.
Buy a bottle of Topo Chico from Amazon if you can’t find this sparkling mineral water brand where you live.
Gently stir the cocktail.
Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.
Slice a lime wedge or wheel or two before you squeeze your lime.
We like to sip Ranch Water with a colorfully striped paper straw. How you sip your Ranch Water is up to you.
Ranch Water Cocktail Alternatives
Ranch Water is one of the easiest cocktails to craft. Motivated mixologists might want to take the tequila cocktail to the next level with one or more of the following alternatives:
Ranch Water FAQs
Ranch Water is a refreshing tequila cocktail crafted with three ingredients – tequila, fresh lime juice and Topo Chico mineral water.
Ranch Water was invented in West Texas.
Blanco Tequila, Topo Chico Mineral Water, Fresh Lime Juice, Ice Cubes and Lime Wedge or Wheel (garnish)
Ranch Water is stirred, not shaken.
No. While Ranch Water and Margaritas both contain tequila and lime juice, Ranch Water adds Topo Chicio mineral water while Margarita adds orange liqueur.
Ranch Water Recipe
Crafting Ranch Water is so easy that it may become your go-to tequila cocktail.
- 3 ounces blanco tequila
- 1.5 ounces fresh lime juice
- 4 ounces Topo Chico sparkling mineral water
- lime wedge or wheel (for garnish)
- ice cubes
- Fill highball glass with ice.
- Pour tequila and lime juice into the glass.
- Top off with Topo Chico mineral water.
- Gently stir.
- Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.
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Highball Glasses [Set of 4] + 4 Stainless Steel Straws, 16 oz Lead-Free Crystal Clear Glass, Elegant Drinking Cups for Water, Wine, Beer, Cocktails and Mixed Drinks - Round Top, Square Bottom
Hiware LZS13B 12 Inches Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon, Spiral Pattern Bar Cocktail Shaker Spoon
OXO Good Grips Mini Angled Measuring Cup
Wusthof CLASSIC Paring Knife, One Size, Black, Stainless Steel
Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer (Lemon)
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: February 28, 2023