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Ranch Water Cocktail Recipe

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Ranch Water doesn’t have the most enticing name but it does get the point across. It’s hard not to associate the southern heat with a tequila cooler. 

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ranch water

What is Ranch Water ?

Ranch Water is the preferred tequila cooler in Texas, U.S.A and it’s made up of very simple ingredients: tequila, lime juice, and club soda. Most of the time you’ll find the club soda is actually Topo Chico, a mostly naturally carbonated mineral water that’s been around for about 2 centuries. You can still make Ranch Water without Topo Chico, don’t worry. 

The origin story for Ranch Water is debatable, and most accounts vary in timeline and original mixers. However this cooler can be traced back to at least 1998 in Austin, TX at Ranch 616 (on their bar menu). Today it’s widely known across the south, and Texas state’s unofficial drink. 

ranch water 2

Ranch Water Cocktail Recipe

Ioana Ciuraru
Texas' preferred tequila cooler, with a very fitting name.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Servings 1


  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • club soda to top about 4 oz


  • Build in ice-filled glass, stir.


  • There is no sweetness to this, unless you decide to add a little syrup.
  • You can always add a salt rim, or a pinch of salt in the glass.

When is this drink best ?

I think Ranch Water works especially well as a cooler in high heat, since it’s a highball and not a sweet one at that. I couldn’t see this being ordered in the middle of winter, or even in milder temperatures. It’s a casual drink with a low alcohol content, so it’s easily the kind of cocktail you’d sip on for the entire afternoon. 

My thoughts on Ranch Water

The tequila comes through in this, since there’s nothing to mellow it, aside from the lime juice. The juice adds a nice amount of sourness, not too much but definitely enough to cut through the alcohol and it also pairs well with the club soda.

I wish it had just a hint of sweetness to make tequila go down easier, but that’s just my two cents. I do have to say that Topo Chico is the preferred sparkling mineral water for Ranch Water, but I don’t have access to it in Romania. However what I did use was a local sparkling mineral water. 

ranch water making

If you like Ranch Water, you might also like…

Paloma – like Ranch Water, but with grapefruit soda

Tequila Soda – an easy, refreshing drink with club soda

Notes, substitutes, and tips

The go-to sparkling water is Topo Chico, which makes a lot of sense for a drink that’s very popular in a state bordering Mexico. Topo Chico is bottled in Mexico, so it makes sense to add this over any other sparkling water to tequila. 

This is usually made with tequila blanco, but you can use whichever you have or prefer. I used gold. If you go as far as mezcal you may be in for a very different flavor profile. 

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