When the weather gets hot, I’m always on the look-out for my personal drink of summer and this year it is without a question Texas Ranch Water.
This is quite possibly the most refreshing drink I’ve ever had, and it has a little buzz to it without being overly alcoholic. A simple mix of tequila, mineral water, and lime is all it takes to whip up this summer sipper. It's just the thing I need after a day of yard work or for an impromptu neighbor porch hang.
In other words, the perfect summer drink!
What is Ranch Water and Why Is it Called Ranch Water?
The origins of the Texas Ranch Water cocktail is as murky as a Dark and Stormy. In its most current form, it is simply three ingredients: good Blanco tequila, fresh lime, and Topo Chico mineral water.
To make a Ranch Water, add the tequila to a glass with the fresh lime juice. I usually just squeeze a lime quarter straight into the glass with my hand. Nothing fancy. Then top it off with Topo Chico. Garnish with some extra lime slices if you’re feeling fancy! Cheers!
Be sure to use fresh lime when making this cocktail because it makes a big difference. I recommend 1/4 of a lime per drink, but you can even use more if you want a more intense lime flavor.
What’s the Best Tequila to Use?
There isn’t a specific brand of tequila that you need to be on the lookout for here, but I do recommend a Blanco tequila that doesn’t have any smoky notes.
Here is our guide to everything tequila if you want to learn more about the difference between añejo and Blanco and which tequilas are best for sipping versus mixing in cocktails.
Is Topo Chico Required? Should It Be?
Would I refuse a Ranch Water made with a different sparkling water? The answer is no; I would gladly accept the drink.
But there is something to Topo Chico that makes it special. It is incredibly carbonated—more so than other sparkling waters. The extra fizz and bubbles adds an extra something to a refreshing drink like this.
This is 100 percent not sponsored by Topo Chico, but I do keep some in my fridge now solely for this cocktail. That said, the Texas Rangers won’t show up at your house if you use LaCroix or something.
Ranch Water Cocktail Glassware
This drink can be served a few different ways. Generally, it’s served in a 12-ounce highball glass, but I also like it in an 8-ounce tumbler which makes it easier to divide one Topo Chico between two cocktails (if you are looking for a lighter cocktail, which I explain below).
In my opinion, for this drink the ingredients and their simplicity are more important than the glassware.
Ranch Water Variations
While the standard is delicious, you can of course change this up and experiment. The easiest way to do that is to add fruit to the drink. I love some raspberries added in or I use a flavored Topo Chico (their grapefruit is particularly good).
To make a more complex cocktail, try adding a splash of St. Germain or Pimm’s to the drink before you top it with the mineral water. Not Texas approved, but delicious nonetheless!
More Drinks Made with Tequila
Generally, Topo Chico’s are sold in a 12-ounce glass bottle which will make three balanced cocktails. You can also split a bottle between two cocktails (6 ounces mineral water per drink) for a lighter sipper, which might be your preference.
- 3 ounces Blanco tequila, divided
- 1 lime, quartered
- 8 ounces Topo Chico mineral water
- For garnish
- Lime wheels
Divide the tequila between two glasses:
Fill two highball or tumbler glasses with ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces of tequila to each cocktail glass.
Slice the lime:
Squeeze one lime segment into each glass. You will have half a lime leftover, save it for your second round, use it as garnish or if you prefer more lime, add more!
Top with mineral water and serve:
Top the glasses off with Topo Chico mineral water. Add a few lime wedges or wheels to each drink. Serve immediately.