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Ranch Water Cocktail Recipe

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.

Ranch Water Up Close

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 with Green Background
Ranch Water is one of the simplest cocktails to craft at home.

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

Ranch Water with Topo Chico Bottle
Ranch Water is one of Texas’ most popular cocktails. Ironically, two of its three ingredients hail from Mexico.

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

Ranch Water Ingredients
Besides ice, you only need three ingredients to craft Ranch Water at home. Those ingredients are blanco tequila, Topo Chico mineral water and a lime.

You only need the following ingredients to craft Ranch Water at home:

  • Blanco Tequila
  • Topo Chico Mineral Water
  • Fresh Lime Juice
  • Ice Cubes
  • Lime Wedge or Wheel (garnish)

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.

Ranch Water with Bottles
Tequila and Topo Chico are Ranch Water’s key ingredients.

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

Ranch Water Mise en Place
Crafting Ranch Water at home is easy once you gather the necessary ingredients and tools.

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 essential bar tools for home 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.

Adding Ice to Ranch Water
You don’t need fancy ice to craft Ranch Water.

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.

Pouring Lime Juice into Ranch Water
However, using freshly squeezed lime juice is a must.

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.

Pouring Topo Chico into Ranch Water
Topo Chico mineral water is another must.

Gently stir the cocktail.

Stirring Ranch Water
Gently stirring Ranch Water mixes the ingredients without muting its carbonation.

Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.

Pro Tip
Slice a lime wedge or wheel or two before you squeeze your lime.

Ranch Water with White Background
A lime wheel garnish completed our Ranch Water cocktail while a striped straw gave it pizzazz.

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

Crafted Ranch Water with Bottles
While it’s not advisable to mess with Texas, feel free to craft Ranch Water as you wish.

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:

  • Add orange liqueur to craft a Ranch Water Margarita.
  • Add pineapple juice (or another juice) to craft fruity Ranch Water.
  • Replace the tequila with mezcal to craft smoky Ranch Water.

Ranch Water FAQs

What is Ranch Water?

Ranch Water is a refreshing tequila cocktail crafted with three ingredients – tequila, fresh lime juice and Topo Chico mineral water.

Where was Ranch Water invented?

Ranch Water was invented in West Texas.

What are the ingredients in Ranch Water?

Blanco Tequila, Topo Chico Mineral Water, Fresh Lime Juice, Ice Cubes and Lime Wedge or Wheel (garnish)

Is Ranch Water shaken or stirred?

Ranch Water is stirred, not shaken.

Is Ranch Water the same as a Margarita?

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

Ranch Water with Straw

Ranch Water

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

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


  1. Fill highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour tequila and lime juice into the glass.
  3. Top off with Topo Chico mineral water.
  4. Gently stir.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.

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About the Authors

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.


Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: February 28, 2023

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