8 Tequila Cocktails To Make At Home

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margarita cocktail with a lime wedge

Mexican tequila can be used to make a whole variety of different and exciting cocktails, from the classic margarita and tequila sunrise to the rich El Diablo and fruity matador. Impress your friends with these 8 tequila cocktail recipes you can make at home.

1. Margarita

Is there any cocktail more symbolic of tequila than the margarita?

Although the origin of the margarita is widely-debated, most people believe it was created in Mexico, much like its main ingredient of tequila.

A staple on cocktails menus all around the world, the margarita is an easy tequila cocktail to recreate at home with just a few simple ingredients. It’s fresh, citrusy and always guaranteed to get a party started.

Margarita ingredients

  • 50ml/1.5 oz Blanco tequila
  • 60ml/2 oz lime juice
  • 20ml/0.75 oz Triple Sec or Cointreau (Depending on how alcoholic you want it to be)
  • 5ml/dash syrup (Algarve preferably)
  • Lime slices
  • Coarse salt

How to make a Margarita

  1. Add the tequila, lime juice, triple sec/Cointreau, syrup and ice into a cocktail shaker and shake until the shaker feels cold on the outside
  2. Run a wedge of lime around the edge of your glass then dip into salt
  3. Strain the mix into the glass

Margarita alternatives

The margarita is one of the most classic tequila cocktails, but if you’re looking for something a little different, there are plenty of ways you can put a twist on the classic margarita.

Blitz all of your ingredients together in a blender with lots of ice – and maybe even some frozen fruit – for a summer-ready frozen margarita, add cranberry juice and an orange sugar rim for a great Christmas tequila cocktail or try topping up your margarita with a little Prosecco to make a Prosecco Margarita.

2. Paloma

Paloma cocktail with graprefruits

While the margarita is perhaps the most well-known tequila cocktail around the world, it’s the Paloma that takes the number one spot in the liqueur’s home country of Mexico.

A simple cocktail made with Blanco tequila, grapefruit juice and lime, the Paloma is tart, refreshing and a great cocktail to pair with spicy Mexican dishes.

Paloma ingredients

  • 60ml/2 oz Blanco or reposado tequila
  • 60ml/2 oz pink grapefruit juice
  • 15ml/0.5 oz lime juice
  • 15ml/0.5 oz agave syrup
  • Soda water
  • Lime slices
  • Coarse salt

How to make a Paloma

  1. Mix tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour into highball glass
  3. Top with soda water
  4. Use lime and salt to garnish rim (like a margarita)

Paloma alternatives

For another even simpler tequila grapefruit cocktail, you can remove the lime juice, agave and soda water to create a tequila Salty Dog. The Salty Dog traditionally uses gin or vodka with grapefruit juice, however, Blanco tequila also works well. Don’t forget to salt the glass!

3. Tequila Sunrise

The Tequila Sunrise cocktail is another of the most famous tequila-based cocktails and one of my personal favourites when relaxing on the beach or even just enjoying a sunny day in the garden.

The Tequila Sunrise is also one of the most simple cocktails to make, with only three ingredients; tequila, orange juice and grenadine.

The sweet cocktail originated in California and gets its name from the way the orange juice and grenadine blend together and the colours resemble a beautiful sunrise.

Tequila Sunrise ingredients

  • 60ml/2 oz tequila
  • 120ml/4 oz orange juice
  • 15ml/0.5 oz grenadine
  • Orange slice
  • Maraschino cherry

How to make a Tequila Sunrise

  1. Mix together tequila and orange juice in a highball glass
  2. Gently add grenadine which will sink to the bottom of the glass (don’t mix!)
  3. Garnish with orange slice and cherry

Tequila Sunrise alternatives

For something a little different, swap out the grenadine for blackberry brandy to create a Tequila Sunset, or swap the orange juice for pineapple juice for a super summery pineapple tequila cocktail.

4. El Diablo

El Diablo dark red cocktail

A lesser-known cocktail that every tequila lover needs to try at least once is the El Diablo.

The El Diablo works best with a more aged tequila such as a reposado, which when combined with the sweet blackcurrant flavours of creme de cassis, tartness of the lime juice and spiciness of the ginger beer creates a rich and intense tequila cocktail which certainly packs a punch.

El Diablo ingredients

  • 50ml/1.5 oz reposado tequila
  • 15ml/0.5 oz​ creme de cassis
  • 15ml/0.5 oz​ lime juice
  • 120ml/4​ oz ginger beer
  • Wedge of lime

How to make an El Diablo

  1. Shake tequila, creme de cassis and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice until mixed
  2. Pour into a tall glass
  3. Top up with ginger beer

5. Bloody Maria

The Bloody Maria – also known as the Mexican Bloody Maria – is a fun twist on the classic Bloody Mary.

The same as the Bloody Mary in almost every way, the Bloody Maria simply swaps out vodka for tequila.

While you might not think that such a simple swap would make a huge difference, I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much the sweet earthiness of the tequila stands out and gives this traditional cocktail a whole new lease of life.

Bloody Maria ingredients

  • 60ml/2 oz tequila
  • 120ml/4 oz tomato juice
  • 15ml/0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 dash lime juice
  • 3 dashes celery salt
  • 3 dashes black pepper
  • Celery stalk
  • Lemon wedge
  • Lime wedge

How to make a Bloody Maria

  1. Add tequila, tomato juice, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lime, celery salt and black pepper into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold
  2. Pour into a high glass
  3. Garnish with celery and lemon and lime wedges

Bloody Maria alternatives

Enjoy spicy cocktails? The Bloody Maria already has a kick to it, but if you want to turn up the heat even more, add a couple more dashes of Tabasco sauce or try garnishing with jalapeño slices.

How the hell do you say Worcestershire? As an English person, it’s hard not to double up in laughter when I listen to my American friends pronounce the name of this salty sauce that comes from the city of Worcestershire in the UK.

Here’s the answer to how to pronouncer Worcestershire: Wuss-ter-share

Yep, it’s far simpler than the fourteen letter tounge-twister spelling that the written word might suggest. And now you no longer need to call it ‘English’ sauce through fear you’ll pronounce it wrong. I think that calls for a tequila cocktail to celebrate.

And if you’re wondering what else you can do with Worcestershire sauce, we use it a lot in cooking in the UK. Here’s a good handful of Worcestershire Sauce Recipes from the trusted BBC to get you started.

6. Long Island Iced Tea

Another staple in cocktail bars all across the world is the Long Island Iced Tea, a potent drink made with equal parts of five different clear liquours topped with cola.

The Long Island Iced Tea is an easy tequila cocktail to make in bulk so makes for a great party punch that everyone can help themselves to and can be topped up as needed.

Long Island Iced Tea ingredients

  • 15ml/0.5 oz Blanco tequila
  • 15ml/0.5 oz vodka
  • 15ml/0.5 oz dry gin
  • 15ml/0.5 oz white rum
  • 15ml/0.5 oz triple sec
  • 15ml/0.5 oz lemon or lime juice
  • 120ml/4 oz cola
  • Lemon or lime wedges

How to make a Long Island Iced Tea

  1. Add tequila, vodka, gin, rum, triple sec and lemon or lime juice into a glass and mix
  2. Top with cola
  3. Garnish with lemon or lime wedge

Lond Island Iced Tea alternatives

There are a few different variations of the Long Island Iced Tea, one of the most established being the Adios Motherfucker in which triple sec is substituted with blue curaçao and the cola with lemonade or lime soda to give the drink a distinctive blue colour.

7. El Niño

Rose coloured cocktail on wooden board

There are so many different versions of the El Niño that it’s an easy tequila cocktail to play around with and adjust to your own personal taste. All you need is tequila, muddled fruit of some kind and simple syrup to create a sweet and tangy tequila cocktail perfect to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.

Whatever variation you decide to go with, don’t forget to add citrus fruit to balance out the tequila.

El Niño ingredients

  • 60ml/2 oz Blanco tequila
  • 30ml/1 oz simple syrup
  • 5 drops rose water
  • Strawberries
  • Lime

How to make an El Niño

  1. Muddle cut up strawberry, lime slices and simple syrup in a mixing glass
  2. Add tequila, rose water and ice
  3. Strain into serving glass over ice

8. Matador

Last but certainly not least, the Matador is a sweet and fruity tequila cocktail that is sure to transport you directly to the beach in just one sip.

This tropical concoction is one of the simplest to make at home, using tequila and fruit juices that you probably already have around the house. A great way to impress your friends with minimal effort at your next garden party.

Matador ingredients

  • 60ml/2 oz Blanco tequila
  • 30ml/1 oz triple sec (optional)
  • 15ml/0.5 oz lime juice
  • 60ml/2 oz pineapple juice
  • Lime wedge

How to make a Matador

  1. Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice and pineapple juice into a shaker with ice and shake
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with lime

Choosing the best tequila for your cocktails

When you mention the word tequila, most people immediately have painful flashbacks of the throat-burning shot which comes accompanied by salt and a wedge of lime on a night out. However, there’s actually far more to tequila than the cheap bottom-shelf blend offered in a shot glass in most bars.

Here are a few tips I picked up when learning to drink Tequila like a Mexican.

The most important thing when picking out a good tequila is to make sure it’s 100% blue agave from Mexico. A tequila made from 100% blue agave will not only be more pleasant to drink, but it’ll also decrease the chances of a painful hangover the next morning (because there are no/fewer hidden nasties).

The second important thing to know is that tequila is a liqueur that improves with age. Therefore the general rule is that the older – or more ‘rested’ – the tequila, the higher quality and smoother it is to drink.

Tequila usually falls into five categories depending on its age:

  • Blanco – unaged tequila that has spent less than 2 months in steel or neutral oak barrels
  • Joven – as above but is often gold-coloured (but check it’s not just food colouring by the marketing tricksters)
  • Reposado – aged more than 2 months but less than 1 year in oak barrels
  • Añejo – aged 1-3 years in oak barrels
  • Extra Añejo – aged more than 3 years in oak barrels

If you’re looking for a tequila that can be sipped on its own, treat yourself to an aged reposado or añejo. However, when being mixed into a cocktail, it’s okay to go for something a little younger. In fact, many tequila cocktail recipes specifically require a Blanco tequila, or for a smoother and classier tequila cocktail, opt for a reposado instead.

So, that’s my list of 8 easy tequila cocktails to make at home. I know there are a lot more out there – let me know your favourites in the comments and I may expand the list. 

If you want to find out more about tequila, check out my post on how to drink tequila like a Mexican.


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margarita cocktail with lime on blue background
Author - Jo Fitzsimons

Hi, I'm Jo, the writer behind Indiana Jo. In 2010 I quit my job as a lawyer and booked an around the world ticket. As a solo female traveller, I hopped from South America to Central America, across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It was supposed to be a one-year trip but over a decade later, it's yet to end. I've lived in a cave, climbed down a volcano barefoot, spent years as a digital nomad, worked as a freelance travel writer, and eaten deadly Fugu. Now I'm home, back in the UK, but still travelling far and wide. You can find out more About Me.

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