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The El Diablo cocktail is a must-make tequila drink! It’s sweet tart and spicy, starring black currant liqueur, lime and ginger beer.

El diablo cocktail

Here’s a highball that immediately shot to the top our favorite tequila drinks: the El Diablo cocktail! This one flies under the radar, but take one sip and you’ll become a new convert. Bold berries, zingy lime, and spicy ginger complement the bite of the tequila in a way that’s indescribable. You’ve just got to taste! Since it’s a highball drink, it’s as easy as pouring the ingredients into an ice-filled glass.

What’s in the El Diablo cocktail?

The El Diablo cocktail is a highball drink made with tequila, crème de cassis (black currant liqueur), lime juice, and ginger beer. The drink was invented by Trader Vic in the 1940’s, a restaurant owner considered the grandfather of Tiki drinks (he invented the Mai Tai and others). The first reference to El Diablo was in his 1946 book called “Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink” where he claims it as his original recipe.

The first recipe for this drink was a highball built right in the glass, but modern versions indicate to shake and strain. Our version goes back to the original (because, why dirty a cocktail shaker?). Here’s what you’ll need for the El Diablo:

  • Tequila reposado
  • Crème de cassis
  • Lime juice
  • Ginger beer

The use of ginger beer may remind you of another famous highball cocktail: the Moscow Mule! The El Diablo is similar to a Mexican mule, but adds creme de cassis.

Creme de cassis
De Kuyper is an inexpensive brand of crème de cassis that’s widely available

What is Crème de Cassis?

Is it worth grabbing a bottle of crème de cassis for this recipe? We give an emphatic yes. Though of course, this is the ideal cocktail to make after you’ve purchased a bottle for a Kir Royale. Here’s more about this liqueur:

  • Crème de cassis is a dark, sweet liqueur made black currants. It’s made in Burgundy, France and first became available in 1841.
  • How much does crème de cassis cost? It’s an inexpensive liquor: you can find a 750 ml bottle for as low as $10. We like the brand Drillaud.
  • What cocktails use creme de cassis? It’s most popularly used in the Kir Royale where it’s paired with champagne. Also try it as a Cassis Spritz (substitute it for Aperol in an Aperol Spritz), or substitute it for Chambord in a French Martini.

Want a substitute for crème de cassis? You can use Chambord (black raspberry liqueur) or crème de mure (blackberry liqueur).

El diablo cocktail

Tips for the El Diablo cocktail

The El Diablo cocktail is fast and easy: and you can build it right in the serving glass! Here are a few tips for making this quick drink:

  • Build it right in the glass. Many modern recipes recipes indicate to shake and strain this drink. But why spend the extra effort? Make it as a traditional highball cocktail, right in the glass (that’s the way Trader Vic’s original 1946 recipe indicates).
  • Use tequila reposado. The vanilla and oak notes from aged tequila reposado add just the right sophistication to the flavor. Use an inexpensive to mid-range reposado here (save the premium stuff for sipping). If all you have is tequila blanco, it works too!

More tequila cocktails

Of course, we all love a great Classic Margarita. But there are so many more great tequila cocktails to try! Here are a few more tequila drinks to put on your radar:

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El diablo cocktail

El Diablo

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The El Diablo cocktail is a must-make tequila drink! It’s sweet tart and spicy, starring black currant liqueur, lime and ginger beer.




  1. Add the tequila, crème de cassis and lime juice to an ice filled highball glass.
  2. Top with the ginger beer and stir gently. Serve immediately.


*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: El diablo cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. aptly named given the tequila content, but I’ll take my chances, nice additions of ginger beer and lime, my kind of cocktail, thank you!

  2. Another excellent use of Cassis I learned in Brazil is when you make a creme de papaya. Basically a papaya shake and drizzle a little cassis on the top and it takes it to a whole new level! The sweeter the papaya the better. Just cut into chunks, we use Bluebell (Because I’m a Texan) Homemade Vanilla, blend it up like a Ninja, pour into some kind of beautiful glass. (We use these old heavy crystal wine classes. They’re large enough that you don’t get hangry when you finish it off.) Drizzle some Cassis across the top, I do a little spiral and get your spoon, fat straw, and mouth ready for pure Brazilian Bliss.